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Tracking drought-like conditions across Central Missouri

One of the main stories throughout the month of June has been the warmer than average high temperatures. The heat index has reached and surpassed 100 degrees multiple times across Mid-Missouri. However, another underlying concern is the amount of rainfall we have seen.

Last June, Columbia Missouri saw a near record breaking rainfall total of 11.01" making for the second highest seen before. This year, a much different story has played out with our conditions. Columbia has only recorded a total of 2.08" (via Columbia Airport) putting us 2.15" away from the normal rainfall average. With only seven days left of June and dryer than average conditions forecasted ahead, the hopes of returning to normal totals begins to diminish.

One of the most important factors when it comes to breaking down the "whys" of this June's outcome results in a high pressure system that was parked over much of the Midwest and South the past several weeks. This atmospheric phenomena is known as blocking. Low pressure systems were essentially prevented from traversing east towards Missouri limiting chances of seeing the typical passage of fronts resulting in rainfall and storms. As of current, this high pressure system has begin to break down allowing for more chances of rainfall, but other factors are now limiting a rebound in rainfall potential for the month of June.

Although we are well under the normal rainfall totals, the threat for a severe drought has not transpired. Some areas in Central Missouri are identified as dry according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration meaning areas are of concern of a possible drought in the future if conditions persist.

With the 4th of July approaching, concerns of drier conditions mixed with fireworks are starting to increase for fire hazards. According to the National Fire Protection Agency, just in 2018, fireworks caused an estimated 19,500 of reported fires. With drier conditions this year for Central Missouri, extra precautions should be taken. Checking for local burn bans or burn restrictions should be explored through the Missouri Department of Public Safety at https://dfs.dps.mo.gov/programs/resources/county-burn-bans.php.

Article Topic Follows: Weather
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Chance Gotsch

Chance Gotsch grew up just south of St. Louis and moved to Columbia to attend the University of Missouri to pursue a degree in Atmospheric Sciences.

His interest in weather begin as a child when he used to be afraid of storms. Years later, he purchased a weather forecasting book and weather station at his elementary Scholastic Book Fair. After reading into the hows and whys of atmospheric science, he quickly became interested and gained his new passion.

Chance joined the ABC17 Stormtrack Weather Team in February of 2021. He is currently the weekday Noon Meteorologist.

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