This summers drought has prompted the government to issue disaster declarations in 26 states, including Illinois. (Source: WGN - Chicago)

Even as the heat wave subsided this week, conditions for cornfields and lawns continue to be affected by what meteorologists are calling Illinois’s first drought of the year.

Two-thirds of the state is experiencing at least a severe drought, and about 9 percent is in an extreme drought or worse, according to the Drought Mitigation Center, based at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Cook County — which for weeks has narrowly avoided a drought — is now fully in a moderate drought.That’s little surprise to anyone with a rain gauge.

Last month, Chicago got .89 inches of precipitation. The average in June is 3.45 inches.

July isn’t shaping up to be much better. The city had only seen .28 inches of rain through Wednesday, and the short-term forecast promises little relief.

Still, it could be worse.

Areas in far southern Illinois are in an exceptional drought, the most dire classification.

In June, Metropolis, Ill. -- located across the Ohio River from Kentucky -- came up 1.76 inches short of its normal 3.91 inches for the month, according to Weather.com. The town had had seen only three days with more than .1 inch of rain since June 1 before almost an inch of rain fell there last weekend.

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