Even with Saturday's storm, metro Detroit in the first stages of a drought

Posted at 11:10 PM, Oct 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-09 16:01:47-04

Wasn't it great to get some rain last weekend?

Unless you were unprepared or got stuck in traffic, or you got in a fender bender or your wipers are bad, you probably liked the first widespread rain we've had in a long time. 

It wasn't heavy; most of us in southeast Michigan and metro Detroit received between .20" and .40" of water last night and today

In Detroit, that still leaves us about 2.50" below average since September 1, which is around when our dry stretch started.

Even with Saturday's rainstorm, we've only had about 1.3" of rain since August 30 in Detroit.

Coupled with many warmer than normal days, the pattern has really dried things out and even dulled our fall color show.

Much of metro Detroit is now abnormally dry, the wording for the first stages of drought, and Saturday's rain was not enough to change that. 

But for a little perspective here, September's full month rainfall was .91", well below average. But that doesn't even rank September 2017 anywhere close to the driest month on record in Detroit.

That honor goes to February of 1877, when we received only the measliest .04" of rain and/or melted snow. The second driest month on record is one many of us can remember, when October of 2005 saw only .13" of water fell from the sky as our pumpkins dried out in the sun. 

We've probably had at least 60 months since records began in 1874 that have been drier than last month.

A dry spell like this one can end quickly with a few good soaking rains. The outlook for the rest of October is for near normal rainfall, which is about 2.5" here in metro Detroit. 

But temperatures are quite likely to come in above average this month, so still expect below average soil moisture and a rainfall deficit unless we get widespread heavy rain.

You'll see and hear several days this week a 30% chance or a 50% chance for rain. That's called "probability of precipitation," and here's a one minute explanation of what that actually means and doesn't mean, so you can impress your friends with your knowledge.

And speaking of rain chances, there's only the smallest chance right now that Tropical Storm Nate, forecast to hit the Gulf Coast late last weekend, will bring much beneficial rainfall to southeast Michigan.

It looks like that rain probably stays to our southeast during the middle of this week.