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VERIFY: Is Northeast Ohio in the midst of a drought?

We've gone more than two weeks without rain, and air quality is also a lingering issue.

CLEVELAND — If you look at the lawns in Northeast Ohio, it's obvious they are struggling with the lack of water.   

"The next [weather] update comes out Thursday," Mike Griggin, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, says as he points to data on a computer screen. "Right now, we're in the yellow, so that means it's just very, very dry."

Griffin spoke with 3News to help us VERIFY what is going on with the current conditions, and what we might be in store for.

"What we're experiencing is a 'flash drought,'" he explained, specifying what happens when no rain over a short period of time combines with abnormally high temperatures. "Rainfall-wise, we're actually up about normal for the year."

But if we don't see rain by the end of the week things could certainly change. So, if we're merely in a "flash drought," what about a water shortage?

"We have plenty of water coming from Lake Erie," Griffin said, "but all your ground ponds, your cattle ponds, your agricultural ponds, those are probably suffering right now."

Air quality is poor due to smoke and haze from wildfires across Eastern Canada, and while Northeast Ohio is not technically under an alert, widespread haze is expected to continue. Griffin says if you have respiratory issues, stay indoors and keep your air conditioning on.

Back to the rain — our region is experiencing a northwest flow at the moment, thus preventing us from any substantial rain coming from the Gulf of Mexico.

"Right now, this pattern that we have will not favor anything tropical to get up here," Griffin admitted.

In the wake of the dry weather, parts of Central Ohio are now under water restrictions. According to 3News meteorologist Matt Wintz, Northeast Ohio could see slight showers Thursday and perhaps a "really good soaking" this weekend.


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