Drought Conditions Hit Midwest
The rain has largely failed to fall in the Missouri-Illinois area so far in 2012, as every month on record has landed well below the area's 30-year average.
A severe lack of rain in the Midwest has locals concerned about their ability to maintain their parks, golf courses and crops.
Less than a half-inch of rain has fallen on the area around the Missouri-Illinois border town of Quincy, Ill., since mid-May, University of Illinois Extension educator Mike Roegge told the Quincy Herald-Whig. Plants are beginning to struggle due to the lack of water, and farmers and landscapers alike are concerned about plants and crops' ability to pollinate and thrive.
Lock and Dam 21 in Quincy only received 7.26 inches of rain from January to May this year, barely over half of the 14.26 inches it usually averages in that same period. April and May, usually the wettest months of the first half of the year with an average of 3.71 and 4.59 inches of rain respectively, only saw 2.9 inches in April and 1.96 inches in May.
Missouri agriculture officials said all areas of the state except the southwest remain quite dry, though crop growth is almost two weeks ahead of the same time last year. Just one percent of tested topsoil has shown a surplus of water, compared to 17 percent that measured adequate and 82 percent with a moisture shortage. Corn and soybeans grown in that area have demonstrated some problems with growth and poor root development because of the water shortage.
Landscapers and maintenance workers can alleviate the drought conditions with well-monitored watering, but should be careful not to overdo it. The shallow root systems of most lawns require more frequent watering, but experts suggest checking the soil around lawns and plants for moisture before watering. If the soil feels dry, hydrate away.