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Record-Setting Heat Starts Summer Off Early

Last updated on Saturday, May 26, 2012

(INDIANAPOLIS) - It’s beginning to look a lot like mid-summer, and it’s still May.

David Barras, of WISH TV reports, demand for water in Indianapolis is up 20 million gallons this week alone. And the heat is just beginning.

You may not know it, but environmentally, it's July. You can see it in the dry, cracked farm fields. And chances are good your grass is already beginning its mid-summer slumber.

"Looks like July or early August, right? You better believe it. It started very soon after March 10 this year, and it doesn't seem like it has let up," said Albert Shipe.

As a hydrologist, he is the guy who watches water levels in Indianapolis for the National Weather Service. And he said last year's map shows plenty of rain in Indiana. But it's changed a lot recently. In the last 30 days, dry conditions have developed across the state.

"And as I say, we've been having essentially summer-like temperatures since the middle of March. So we're already two months into summer, and we've got three more months to go," Shipe said.

And that has plenty of you reaching for the sprinkler.

"On Monday there were about 161 million gallons of water used. As of [Thursday], 181 million gallons used. So about a 20 million gallon increase," said Sarah Holsapple of Citizen's Water company.

That's typical demand for summer, she said. But it's not summer.

"Rain would help," she said

But there's no need to panic, Holsapple said. Water supplies are in good shape. A wet year last year and plenty of rain early this year have the reservoirs full. But because the summer season has started so early, and future rain is unpredictable, Holsapple said you should start watering now like it was already summer.

"Watering best is in the morning. And also it's really only necessary to water your lawn once a week," she said.

The Indianapolis heat this year is record-setting. According to the National Weather Service, March was the warmest on record, and the three-month spring season of March, April and May is already the warmest on record. And from the start of summer in June of last year to the end of spring in May of this year is set to be the warmest year for us, ever.

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