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MU Prof: Hot, Dry Summer Looms

Brett Blume
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(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMOX) –  A weather expert at the University of Missouri is predicting no relief this summer for the Midwest and southwestern United States, which have been enduring hot and dry conditions that have led to a drought.

“I expect one of two scenarios to play out,” says Tony Lupo, professor and chair of the Department of Atmospheric Science at MU’s School of Natural Resources. “The first is a continued La Nina climate pattern to affect our weather this summer, leading to a drought and above-average heat throughout the Midwest from Texas to Iowa. However, it is also possible that a new El Nino pattern could develop this fall, which could bring more favorable temperatures and precipitation patterns to the Midwest.”

For Missouri, Lupo anticipates the driest, warmest conditions in the southwestern part of the state.

“We’re looking at a summer that may be similar to last summer,” Lupo tells KMOX News. “Of course last summer was quite a bit warmer than normal and the precipitation was dry but fairly close to normal.”

In the St. Louis area, he expects heavy thunderstorms and slightly cooler temperatures, although he adds there are no early indicaitions that this region will see a repeat of the violent storms that smashed through St. Louis city and county last spring, and of course wiped half of Joplin, Missouri off the map.

“Even though we’ll receive rain, heavy downpours are not as valuable as rain showers,” Lupo points out. “The soil cannot absorb all of the water, and much of it runs off. We need prolonged periods of light rain to moisten the subsoil where most crops’ roots go for water.”

Lupo does say that the warm conditions in the Midwest could lead to a “heat dome” effect for the rest of the country, similar to 2011.

 

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