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'Short-term improvement but no long-term fix' for drought despite rains in North Dakota

Overall, drought conditions worsened slightly across areas of the upper Midwest, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

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Rains prior to June 10 across southern North Dakota brought some drought relief, though showers remained spotty, WDAY meteorologist John Wheeler says.

According to the North Dakota Agricultural Weather Network, portions of southeastern North Dakota received up to three inches of rain over the two days (much higher totals were seen in other localized areas).

Areas of western North Dakota had totals ranging from a tenth of an inch, up to nearly an inch of rain.

"This past week there has been some nice rain in parts of North Dakota," Wheeler said.

Despite the precipitation, dire drought conditions still continue to plague the state, as well as the surrounding region, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor .


North Dakota drought map released June 10, as of June 18 (U.S. Drought Monitor)

Not much changed in eastern North Dakota or western Minnesota, where the soil profile has gotten drier, Wheeler said. No rain fell north of Fargo in the Red River Valley, and the Minot, N.D., area continues to get "skunked when it comes to rainfall."

And even where the rain fell, Wheeler reminds that warmer temperatures may counter some of the moisture. The rains, he said, were more of a "short-term improvement but no long-term fix."

"Folks, we're still in a drought," he said.

Strong storms are in the forecast for the night of Thursday, June 10, into Friday morning, but Wheeler said places suffering from the drought will continue to need some luck to get necessary moisture. Forecasting models disagree with what to expect in the coming week, but Wheeler said the models cannot accurately predict thunderstorm precipitation.

Here is a state-by-state look at this week’s drought monitor:

Iowa : Over 25% of acres in Iowa went from not experiencing drought conditions last week to now having a drought rating. Severe drought conditions increased from 7.62% to 9.76%. Moderate drought conditions increased from 29.46% to 46.91%. Abnormally dry conditions also increased from 25.03% to 32.29%.


Minnesota : All of Minnesota is now experiencing at least some degree of drought. Last week, 26.79% of the state was drought-free. 1.81% is now in severe drought with 44.39% in moderate drought. That is up from 13.27% last week. Abnormally dry conditions came in at 53.80%.

Montana : Montana’s extreme drought rating decreased this week from 15.56% to 10.97%. Severe drought came in at 21.73% with moderate drought at 22.67%. Abnormally dry conditions increased nearly 5%, coming in at 33.17%

Nebraska : Nebraska’s drought conditions worsened over the last week. Relative to the rest of the region, however, Nebraska is still in good shape. Severe drought came in at 1.91%, up from 0% last week. Moderate drought increased slightly from 4.34% to 6.84%. Abnormally dry acres increased from 26.15% to 35.97%. Acres not experiencing drought conditions decreased from 69.52% to 55.28%.

North Dakota: Some areas of North Dakota did see some small drought relief over the past seven days. Just under 10% of the area categorized in the extreme drought condition was downgraded to severe drought or moderate drought. Nearly half of the state (48.59%) continues to be in extreme drought conditions, while nearly one-fifth (17.68%) remains in the more dire drought category - exceptional drought. 25% is in a severe drought, while 6.81% is categorized as a moderate drought. 0.91% is abnormally dry. The entire state is experiencing at least some drought condition.

South Dakota : South Dakota had a rise in severe drought conditions over the past week. The severe drought rating increased from 27.01% to 49.93%. Most of the increase was due to moderate drought acres being upgraded to severe drought, however, some acres that were downgraded from extreme drought to severe drought also account for the increase. Extreme drought acres decreased from 10.38% to 4.24%. Moderate drought came in at 25.67% with abnormally dry conditions at 17.83%. Just 2.34% of the state is not experiencing any drought condition.

Wisconsin : Wisconsin’s severe drought rating was unchanged this week at 5.09%. Acres experiencing no drought were at 49.33% last week, but came in at 18.16% this week. Abnormally dry conditions came in at 47.58%. Moderate drought conditions are at 29.17%.

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