Rain decreases drought intensity in places but water shortage remains
Several recent rainfalls have started to have an impact on the U.S. Drought Monitor, with the version released on Sept. 2 showing slowly improving conditions in the region. Much of the region has been wet as of late, with northern Iowa particularly so, Wheeler said.
Much of the region experienced widespread rain, with the large storm expected to drop 1.5 to 2.5 inches of rain around the Fargo, North Dakota, area, StormTRACKER meteorologist John Wheeler said.
"This is one of those significant, soaking rains that will have an impact on the drought situation here in the Northern Plains," he said.
Several recent rainfalls have started to have an impact on the U.S. Drought Monitor , with the version released on Sept. 2 showing slowly improving conditions in the region. Much of the region has been wet as of late, with northern Iowa particularly so, Wheeler said.
Still, many areas of exceptional and extreme drought remain, particularly in North Dakota and Minnesota. That comes on the heels of a hot, dry summer. The Drought Monitor noted that North Dakota experienced its 11th driest May through July period and its third driest August through July period. South Dakota had its driest May through July period and its seventh driest August through July period. Minnesota had its second driest July and second driest May through July period.
"My guess is today's rainfall may take away or nip away at that just a bit," Wheeler said.
However, the Drought Monitor said Montana's conditions experienced degradations in drought conditions.
But for the areas of the region that received rain, Wheeler said that, generally speaking, lawns have greened up and some crop conditions have improved. But rivers are still low, lakes are still low and the subsoil moisture is still behind.
"The hydrological drought continues because we still have a water shortage overall," he said.
The forecast going forward does not show continuation of the wet conditions, but there should be mild temperatures everywhere but the western U.S.
Here's a state-by-state look at this week's U.S. Drought Monitor:
Iowa: Heavy rains changed Iowa's drought situation, with the state now reporting no land in extreme drought, compared to 10.1% last week. Severe drought also decreased from 23.62% to 12.61%. Overall, 28.25% of the state is now in no drought category, compared to 17.37% last week.
Minnesota: Minnesota saw improvements across much of the state due to heavy rains. The worst of the drought, including the 6.78% of the state still in exceptional drought, is in the northern third. But the state now only has 88.58% of land in moderate drought or worse, compared to 96.58% last week. The portion of the state now in no drought category rose from 1.15% last week to 3.38%
Montana: While the rest of the region saw general drought improvements over the past week, exceptional drought expanded significantly in Montana. It now covers 20.32% of the state, compared to 13.81% last week. The entire state remains in moderate drought or worse, with 98.7% of the state in severe drought or worse.
Nebraska: Nebraska saw significant improvement over the past week, with extreme drought decreasing from 2.15% to 0.77%. The state remains in moderate drought or worse on 38.95% of land, but the percentage of the state in no drought conditions at all rose from 13.63% to 17.35%.
North Dakota: For the first time in months, a portion of North Dakota is considered only "abnormally dry" rather than in a drought category. The far southeastern corn emerged as abnormally dry, one of several improvements in the state. Exceptional drought dropped from 13.38% last week to 5.63%, and extreme drought also dropped slightly. Those portions of the state were moved into either severe or moderate drought, and 99.75% of the state remains in moderate drought or worse.
South Dakota: While extreme drought expanded slightly, from 26.37% last week to 26.91% this week, overall South Dakota improved slightly from last week. The state now has 1% of land not considered to be in drought conditions, with spots out of drought conditions in the southeast and northeast.
Wisconsin: Wisconsin remains in the best shape across the region and improved over last week. Severe drought dropped from 2.06% to 1.33%, and the portion of the state in no drought category rose from 60.47% to 65.58%.