The image is a familiar one: Brown grass and dried up plants, desperate for a drink. In fact, we've only had 9" of rain this entire calendar year.
The Quad Cities is on the edge of a small area of what is now under "extreme drought" conditions. The area extends into northern Illinois and is 50-75% below normal in precipitation. Ironically, much of the Midwest has received normal rainfall but in the drought-stricken areas, the conditions have already caused damage to crops.
The rain keeps missing the QCA and dryness seems to beget dryness. With low humidity, there's not much moisture in the air that could even contribute to some rainfall.
"With this dry ground, we aren't getting those dew points near the ground," says meteorologist Barbara Mayes, "so we don't have quite as much fuel for afternoon thunderstorms that would bring us a little more rain."
It's not just a lack of rainfall either. It has been unusually hot for the past two months and heat equals stress for the developing corn crop. This weekend may be the worst as temperatures soar into the triple digits.
But it is often said that the soybean crop is made in August so there may still be some hope.
"If we can back off the temperatures and give the soybean crop a drink or two," says ISU crop specialist Virgil Schmitt, "we can still have very good or excellent yields out there."
For now, the computer models of the weather trends give no indication of relief in the long run.