Most Hoosiers Ready For A Rain Dance

Hoosier Perspectives

Still it's not one world in Hoosierland.

Published on: June 11, 2012

How can you not like a place where the high might be 90 in late March and 65 on June 1, or where it might rain three inches over two weeks when you don't need rain in the winter, and not rain for three weeks in the summer when you do need rain? That's Indiana, and maybe that helps explain why Hoosiers are so hearty.

The thrown-in- sentences in conversations that we could use a rain are escalating in to "We need rain now!" over much of Indiana. That's particularly true in north-central and southwest Indiana, where rainfall has been mighty scarce. It's not so true yet in south-central and southeast Indiana, where ample to excess rainfall brought wet-season problems to no-till fields, such as slug damage on soybeans. Odds are once the temperatures stay up for good and the soil dries out there too, the slugs will hightail it for safer territory and leave the corn and soybeans alone.

Ken Scheeringa, associate state climatologist, offers little hope to those who want a quick turn-around to the warmer-than-normal, drier-than-normal trend over much of Indiana. He sees it continuing through June. His main reasoning is just common sense. Or you could say it's a weatherman using the 'if it's not broke, don't fix it' method. Or you could say he's a good poker player, and he's going to hold as long as he is winning.

Weather can be all about trends and persistence. The more entrenched a trend becomes, the more likely it is to hang around until something with enough strength to dislodge it comes along. The trend right now is warm and dry. Scheeringa doesn't see anything coming along in June to change that trend.

Every day won't be hot, and every day won't be dry. These are trends. The warmer- than- normal trend began in November and has persisted ever since. The drier- than- normal trend began in February.

What's surprising, however, is how quickly rain events became pop-up showers, typical of mid-summer weather. Some people call the sprinkles that most people saw 'dry weather' rains. Some people got enough to help their crops, but they may have only received it on part of their farm, not the whole thing.

Then again, why wouldn't this pattern, more typical of July, start in June? This whole year has been out of whack, from peonies blooming the first week of May to rootworms hatching the first week of May to cherries ripening the last week of May. At least there were some cherries to pick in central Indiana. My crop off one pruned tree made enough for two pies, and we gave one of them away!

Mother Nature has been out of whack for several months now, doing her wackiest work in March. That warm spell followed by cold temperatures later cost a good portion of Michigan's fruit industry their entire crop. At least I had some cherries to pick.

If you haven't already buckled your seat belt and put on your crash helmet, you probably should. We've still got nearly a full summer and fall to go. It could be quite a bumpy ride, depending upon where you live.