Detroit has only experienced 0.29 inches of rain so far in July, joining many other regions in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula that have had dry weather this month, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
And not only is the lack of rain leading to crunchy lawns and wilted flowers.It’s also creating a higher risk of fire for the region, according to the National Weather Service. The Lower Peninsula is facing temperatures ranging from low 80s to high 90s this week, with no heavy rain as a respite, the agency said.
High winds combined with heat and a lack of moisture in the air can lead to increased chances of fire.
The agency is recommending that people take precautions against spreading fire, such as properly disposing of cigarette butts and completely extinguishing campfires.
The weather service also is warning residents to use care when mowing the lawn or using other outdoor equipment that could throw sparks, leading to a fire.
The average precipitation for July is around 3.5 inches, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The Detroit area had an average of around 3.65 inches of rain in June, while the region experienced 6.35 inches of rain in May, according to the administration.
The next step when abnormally dry weather occurs is for the weather service to announce that Michigan has entered an official drought. A drought is a period of unusually persistent dry weather that lasts long enough to cause problems, such as crop damage or water supply shortages, the agency said.
As of last week, only parts of the Thumb and northeast Michigan were in a moderate drought, according to the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS).
Around 40 percent of the state is in “abnormally dry” condition, according to NIDIS. This jumped significantly from the week of July 4, when only 7 percent of the state was abnormally dry.
However, over 25 percent of the U.S. land area experienced a drought last week, the agency said.
This happened in Michigan last September, when rainfall amounted to just under 1 inch, compared to the monthly average of about 3 inches.