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Hot and dry conditions playing like a broken record in Indiana

Friday, September 2, 2011

Map shows Putnam County in severe, moderate drought areas.
In case somehow you haven't noticed, it's hot ... and it's very dry. Officially.

And now, the hottest September weather in 57 years has arrived to torment west-central Indiana.

When the mercury hit 99 degrees at 3:44 p.m. Thursday, it marked the highest September temperature in central Indiana since another 99-degree day on Sept. 6, 1954.

It also marked the fifth straight month (May, June, July, August, September) in which a 90-degree temperature was recorded locally. That is the first time that has occurred since 1988.

The number of 90-degree days for summer 2011 has now reached 39, again the most for a year since 1988.

August ended with 12 days of 90 degrees or more with a high of 96 on Aug. 24.

While summer continues through Sept. 22, the months of June, July and August are considered Meteorological Summer. Using that period, 2011 has produced the fifth warmest summer on record at an average temperature of 77.5 degrees. That's just short of the 78.1-degree figure posted in 2010.

The latest summer heat wave that began on Aug. 31 will last through Saturday, the National Weather Service said. Maximum temperatures will rival the hottest weather the area has experienced this summer.

The 2011 heat wave that began on July 17 ended on Aug. 8. The 23-day heat wave of 2011 was hotter than the August 1936 heat wave when the previous record of 19 days was set.

Meanwhile, a portion of southeastern Putnam County is included in a severe drought area designated by the U.S. Drought Monitor, the Weather Service said Thursday.

With only a little more than 1.5 inches of rainfall occurring over the central Indiana area during July (0.47 inches) and August (1.11 inches), severe drought conditions have developed as a result of prolonged hot and dry weather.

The Putnam County area in the drought zone is south and east of Cloverdale at the Putnam-Morgan county line as well as where Putnam, Hendricks and Morgan counties converge.

Meanwhile, the remainder of Putnam County has been listed in the moderate drought category.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, the severe drought conditions are centered on the Morgan-Johnson county line and include all of Morgan County, more than half of Johnson County and small portions of Putnam, Owen, Hendricks, Brown and Bartholomew counties.

Meanwhile, moderate to severe drought conditions exist in much of Indiana south of a line from Covington in Fountain County to Richmond in Wayne County except for southwest Indiana.

For the Indianapolis area, the current dry spell is the longest and driest since July 29 through Oct. 12, 2010.

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