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Drought, Heat: Worry Officials in Illinois and Missouri

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CBS St. Louis (con't)

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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - The people who watch over water supplies in Illinois are getting nervous.

Illinois Climatologist Jim Angel doesn’t like the forecast for continued hot and dry conditions…and he’s keeping an eye on lakes, streams, farm fields and even front yards.

“The first thing to dry out is soil moisture.  That has the biggest impact on homeowners and farmers.  The second thing to go is the stream flows, then the lake levels and the final thing is ground water.” said Angel.

Besides the farmers who are already calculating crop loss Angel says communities that get their water from lakes will be next in line to feel the pinch.  Those that depend on underground aquifers are less likely to have a problem.

Corn is in the pollination process and this is the time of year the crop needs moisture the most.

With conditions so dry, the city of Kirkwood is considering canceling its fireworks display. KMOX News received an e-mail from Kirkwood city officials who were making sure they have a way to contact us , should they cancel the fireworks.

Farmington has already cancelled its fireworks.

Precautions are being taken in the forests of southern Illinois.   In the Shawnee National Forest of Southern Illinois some firefighters who might otherwise help fight wildfires in the western U.S. are staying home just in case. Scott Crist of the Forest Service says conditions aren’t dangerously dry but they are much drier than normal.

Dozens of counties and towns across Illinois have banned open fires.

With the high temperature expected to be over 100 in the next several days, News-4 Meteorologist Kent Ehrhardt says we will likely be breaking some long-standing records.   “All of the top seven strings of these consecutive hot days are all in July and August.  It’s unprecedented to have anything this early to be seeing these kind of temperatures.” Said Ehrhardt.

He anticipates a string of 5 or 6 days of 100-degrees or more.  He says the record number of consecutive days with that kind of heat is 13 set back in the dust bowl days.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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