Even though the amount of land in North Dakota considered in exceptional drought on the U.S. Drought Monitor has shrunk from earlier this summer, StormTRACKER meteorologist John Wheeler says nearly half of the state remains in exceptional or extreme drought.
"Most of North Dakota is in really rough shape," he said.
Minnesota wasn't in as bad of shape as North Dakota earlier in the spring, but Wheeler said the timely rains the state was relying on have stopped.
The drought conditions continue expanding. Soil moisture continues to evaporate.
"99% of the time, soil moisture is better than it is right now," Wheeler said. "It has gotten into a serious drought situation."
The heat in the region has been intense. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, temperatures as high as 110F were reported in eastern Montana on Monday, July 19.
Though some rains have fallen in parts of the region lately, they have been widely scattered and not enough to help many areas.
While the intense heat may move off in the coming weeks, Wheeler said above-average temperatures are likely to continues, and what precipitation does come to the region in the coming weeks likely will follow a similar pattern.
"As far as rainfall goes, over the next week or two there won't be enough to keep up with the drought," he said.
Here is a state-by-state look at this week’s drought monitor:
Iowa: Conditions improved slightly in Iowa over the past week, with severe drought going from 31.49% to 26.92%. More than 30% of the state is not considered to be in any drought category.
Minnesota: Minnesota continues to lose ground against drought. Extreme drought increased from 3.95% last week to 18.5% this week. More than 70% of the state is in severe drought or worse, and the entire state is in some drought category.
Montana: Exceptional drought appeared on the map in Montana this week, with 5.35% of the state in that category. Every category of drought increased in the state this week; more than 77% of the state now is in severe drought or worse.
Nebraska: Nebraska remains in relatively good shape compared to nearby states, with 31.52% of land not considered to be in any drought conditions. The state now has no land considered in extreme drought, compared to 0.68% last week.
North Dakota: Conditions have gotten slightly worse in North Dakota, with the amount of land in exceptional, extreme and severe all increasing. The state is considered in severe drought or worse on 96.7% of land, with the remainder in moderate drought.
South Dakota: South Dakota's drought conditions improved slightly since last week, with extreme drought decreasing from 19.58% to 17.63%. The land in moderate drought or worse decreased from 90.13% to 89.65%.
Wisconsin: Conditions improved slightly in Wisconsin, with no land in the state considered in extreme drought this week, compared to 0.81% last week. More than 47% of the state is not considered to be in any drought category.