Chicago sees 'flash drought' conditions, no thanks to unusually dry May

Dried grass Photo credit Getty Images

(WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- After a particularly dry month, parts of the Chicago area could soon see what is known as a “flash drought."

“A flash drought is an unusually rapid onset of drought, typically resulting from a multi-week or a couple-month period of very dry conditions compared to what is expected,” explains Jake Petr, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Romeoville.

Typically, the Chicago area sees about 4.5 inches of rain in May, but the National Weather Service says O’Hare has reported only 0.42 inches of rain so far this month.

April was particularly dry as well, reporting about 1.75 inches below normal.

Without any measurable precipitation in the 7-day forecast, meteorologists expect the longer range prediction will turn into near-record-breaking conditions.

“This would result in the month of May, 2023, being the second driest May on record for the city of Chicago,” added Petr.

According to the NWS, the driest May on record was in 1992, with only 0.3 inches of rain.

Those dry conditions could pose additional risks heading into Memorial Day weekend.

Aside from cracked lawns and dried shrubs, Petr warned flash drought conditions can be particularly dangerous with open flames and smoking materials.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Getty Images