The blue skies and bright sunshine are unrelenting.
This is what a drought looks like, and state climatologist Jim Angel says there's no end in sight. He says the National Weather Service has the rest of June being drier than normal, and the same story for July.
Southern Illinois' rainfall total for the year so far is eight to 10 inches below normal. The drought is considered severe in many parts of southern Illinois.
The drought continues to worsen across southern Illinois, southeast Missouri and southwest Indiana.
The National Weather Service office in Paducah, Kentucky says as we approach the 4th of July holiday, the concern for wildfires will likely increase. Meteorologists say no significant rains are expected for the next week or so. They say while it's still too soon to say if appreciable rain will occur before July 4th, it is unlikely there would be enough to provide much relief.
Burn bans are in effect for many counties and communities across the region...and more may be put in to effect.
Forecasters say in areas not yet under burn bans, the abnormally dry, drought conditions across the region will make it very dangerous to do outdoor burning of any kind. This includes campfires, grilling, burning yard litter, and shooting off fireworks. They says even something seemingly as trivial as throwing a cigarette out an automobile window, is dangerous.
On top of the extremely dry conditions, temperatures are forecasted to reach triple digits later this week.
The state of Illinois wants to remind residents that cooling centers are available at Department of Human Services offices in each county.
Additional locations are available in some counties. For example, St. Mary's Good Samaritan is offering use of the air conditioned public areas at both of its campuses, St. Mary's Hospital in Centralia and Good Samaritan Regional Health Center in Mt. Vernon. Individuals may utilize the Main Lobby, Snack Shop/Canteen and Cafeteria at both facilities as cooling sites.