The latest release of the US Drought Monitor is out, and while there aren't any drastic changes over the course of the past seven days, any changes that there have been have been changes for the worse. Last week, 89% of the State of Illinois had been in Moderate Drought or worse. That number's up a tick this week to 92.1%. The area of Severe Drought is expanding as well, up from a shade over 30% last week to exactly 40% this week.
What's more concerning is the fact that the Severe Drought area has expanded to just south of I-80, now less than 100 miles away from us! Another couple dry weeks would almost surely put us into that Severe Drought category, if not very, VERY close!
So, that begs the question... Is there any relief in sight? Right now, the answer is yes and no! A third consecutive 100° day is in the cards for Friday. Such a streak has not been put together since 1953, so we're surely in rare air here! Another 100° is possible on Saturday, but a frontal passage along with scattered t-storm chances my restrict temperatures to the mid and upper 90s!
Cooler temperatures do settle in from there, but it'll hardly be anything we'll call "cold"! We're talking about a brief string of days in which we see temperatures near to ever so slightly above normal. Longer range indications suggest an above normal to much above normal trend through July 19th. While not likely to the extent of this current heat wave, hotter times are looking like a good bet to stay around for awhile!
As for any of that needed rainfall, the news is not all that encouraging... Computer models across the board are forecasting below to well below normal rainfall for at least the next week, if not considerably longer. In short, this drought appears as though it will get worse before it gets better!