Drought continues, now considered severe in parts of West Michigan

Weather News

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — It’s been a very dry start to 2021 in West Michigan.

Since the start of the year, Grand Rapids is running a precipitation deficit of 6.16 inches. There has been a deficit of 4.73 inches since the start of meteorological spring on March 1, and May alone has been 1.77 inches drier than average. 

With the dry conditions, it’s no surprise that much of West Michigan is in a drought. The U.S Drought Monitor releases a weekly update on drought conditions, and Thursday’s update shows parts of West Michigan in a “severe” drought, the third of five drought stages.

All of Kent, Ottawa and Allegan counties are included in the severe drought. Portions of the surrounding counties are also included. The rest of West Michigan is classified as being in a “moderate” drought. 

In a severe drought, crop or pasture losses become more common. Streamflow can be too low to irrigate and trees can become stressed from the dry conditions. Water shortages become common and water restrictions may be imposed. 

In a moderate drought, crops and vegetation can be stressed and have some damage. Water shortages begin to develop and some water-use restrictions are possible. 

The latest 6-10-day precipitation outlook from the Climate Prediction Center suggests that we’ll finish off the month with wetter-than-average conditions. Intermittent rain chances are in the forecast for West Michigan from this weekend into next week. 

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