FORT WAYNE – A spate of thunderstorms that rolled through northeast Indiana on Wednesday and Thursday was not enough to pull us out of the current drought.
But they did help.
You know, it’s definitely a step in the right direction, said Michael Sabones, chief meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Syracuse. It’s definitely going to help a lot of things, but it’s not the whole answer.
And in another positive sign, nature gave Hoosiers in this part of the state a bit of a respite from the heat.
Thursday’s high was 84 degrees, according to the National Weather Service, ending a record streak of 22 consecutive days in which Fort Wayne saw temperatures of 90 degrees or higher. The previous record was 14 consecutive days of temperatures in the 90s in 1983.
Still, while much of northern Indiana got a good soaking from the rain, Sabones said, a one- or two-time event is not enough to end the drought.
Sabones estimated that several areas across northern Indiana received an inch of rain or less while pockets received 2 or 3 inches.
I would say we’re still in a drought, he said. We were 10 inches below normal, so if we got 2 inches of rain, we’re still 8 inches below normal. It’s a pretty deep hole to crawl out of.
Sabones also said meteorologists can see nothing that suggests more rain is coming in the next six or seven days.
That’s not good news for crops, lawns or shrubbery.
Because of the drought, corn growers in every county of northeast Indiana are eligible for aid through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and an official with that agency confirmed Wednesday that even a deluge of rain during the next several weeks won’t save many crops.
According to Purdue University’s website, corn growers could consider harvesting their crop for livestock feed to salvage some of its value.
That would also help livestock producers, who are facing short forage supplies, the university said.
What the drought has brought in some areas, according to the university, is an abundance of a summertime treat: sweet corn.
High temperatures cause sweet corn to mature faster on farms with irrigation systems, Purdue’s website said. But while it’s available now, there may be a decline over the growing season in what’s available.
Growers who have irrigation are able to have a crop, said Liz Maynard, a Purdue Extension horticulture specialist, on the university’s website. The folks who don’t have irrigation probably will have some serious yield loss.
Even those with irrigation could have trouble because the temperatures have been so hot and there has been so little rain that irrigation may not be enough, Maynard added.
Sweet corn that doesn’t get enough water may have lower yields or ears that don’t completely fill in with kernels, she said.