Could Isaac Be Our Drought Buster?

Tropical Storm Could Impact Midwest late Next Week

Ron Smiley

5:50 AM CDT, August 23, 2012


Every Thursday morning at 8:30 we find out the extent of ongoing drought conditions right here in Indiana.  For the past three weeks things have been improving when it comes to just how much coverage area the drought has taken up.  We still likely need 5 inches of rain or more on average within a month in order to see drought conditions totally disappear in the state.  Generally you want to see this rain come in short burst of an inch or two for the maximum positive effect on plants and trees.  The second best thing would be a so called “drought buster” that would have several inches of rain all within the course of 48 to 72 hours.  This type of rain would fully replenish our reservoirs that have seen their levels dropping drastically this summer.  This type of scenario is going to be possible at the end of next week as Tropical Storm Isaac comes onshore and heads to the Midwest.

For the second straight run the Euro model is showing the remains of Isaac heading here to Indiana.  The chance of us getting some rain from Isaac remains especially low right now but there is at least a chance it heads here.  Isaac will bring heavy rain, gusty winds and tornadoes to wherever it goes.  The worst weather will be on the storms right or east of the main rotation.  Once again the chance for Isaac to impact Indiana is going to be relatively low, but there is certainly a chance.

It’s happened before.  In fact just 4 years ago the second costliest hurricane ever, Hurricane Ike, rolled through the Midwest.  Ike would go on to kill at least 15 living in the Midwest.  Flooding and falling trees were the main cause of deaths as Ike rolled through.  When you look at the track of Ike one thing becomes clear.  You either saw rain as Ike rolled by or you saw strong severe winds.  They didn’t mix, with winds tracking east of the storm and heavy rain tracking to the west of the storms track.  There was a wide swath stretching five states where rain totals topped 3 inches.  As Ike neared the great lakes it once again picked up some moisture intensifying rain totals with 5+ inches of rain falling around Lake Michigan along the track.

Heavy rains and flooding weren’t the only problems brought on by Ike.  At the peak of the storm more than 8 million people were stuck with no power while crews scrambled to fix the grid hit hard by flooding and winds.

If Isaac heads here the nice thing is that we will have plenty of time to prepare.  At this point there are too many variables to know exactly where this powerful and potentially deadly storm will go.