COLUMBIA – There are two words in the weekend forecast that drought-weary mid-Missouri haven't seen for awhile: "Showers likely."
The National Weather Service was forecasting the possibility of 1 1/2 to 2 inches of rain over parts of Missouri this weekend, but there was uncertainty late Thursday about how widespread or heavy the rain will be.
The last time Columbia experienced significant rainfall – more than half an inch – was July 8, according to the weather service.
Most of Boone County continued to fall into the D4 category, exceptional drought, in the weekly U.S. Drought Monitor released Thursday morning.
The latest forecast put the probabilities of rain in the Columbia area at 60 percent Saturday night and Sunday. Jon Carney, a meteorologist with the weather service in St. Louis, said the most widespread rain would likely fall north of Columbia.
"Because there is lack of moisture and low levels in the atmosphere, I hate to be too optimistic about the rainfall," Carney said.
The rain might bring some short-term relief, Carney said, but won't be enough to reverse the damage to Missouri crops.
“We’ve accumulated a significant deficit over the past several months,” MU Extension climatologist Pat Guinan said. “It’s going to take some widespread significant rain events over an extended period of time to recharge the depleted water resources above and below the ground.”
Anthony Lupo, chair of the MU Department of Soil, Environmental and Atmospheric Sciences, said the weekend system will be weak, but any moisture will help.
“It will be like giving a thirsty man a thimble of water,” Lupo said. “The plants will love it, but it won’t be enough to rescue anything.”
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