Drought conditions continue to spread and worsen across the region, and StormTRACKER Meteorologist John Wheeler said that has been most pronounced in Minnesota.
The drought, he said, was most intense in the late spring and early summer in North Dakota but has lessened in severity on the U.S. Drought Monitor since then. And it's not that conditions have improved in North Dakota but that the drought has caught up to normal dry late summer conditions, making the drought slightly less of an anomaly now.
"Things have kind of held their own," he said.
However, the soil moisture deficit in Minnesota has increased and conditions there continue to worsen compared to earlier in the year, Wheeler said.
The U.S. Drought Monitor this week showed generally worse conditions for most states in the region compared to last week.
North Dakota and Montana had more land in exceptional drought, the worst category on the map, than last week, though it is still less than North Dakota had in that most dire category in May and June.
Forecast models for the upcoming week show slight chances of storms in the region, though Wheeler cautions they are not likely to be the kind of storms that will end or even substantially improve the drought.
Temperatures will be fairly close to average this week, but another heat wave is likely for later in August, Wheeler said.
Here is a state-by-state look at this week’s Drought Monitor:
Iowa: Conditions worsened across much of Iowa this week, with 6.95% of the state now considered in extreme drought. While about a quarter of the state remains with no drought conditions, the percentage in severe drought or worse continues to increase.
Minnesota: The portion of Minnesota in extreme drought jumped from 22.06% last week to 35.08% this week. A tiny portion of southeastern Minnesota was taken out of drought conditions, but more than 99% of the state is in some drought category, with78.64% in severe drought or worse.
Montana: Conditions deteriorated significantly in Montana this week, as the amount of land in exceptional drought more than doubled, from 5.68% to 11.51%. Land in extreme drought also expanded significantly, from 43.01% to 56.85%. The entire state is in moderate drought or worse, with nearly 99% of the state in severe drought or worse.
Nebraska: Nebraska fared well this week in terms of drought conditions, other than a slight uptick in land in severe drought from 2.6% to 5.25%. Nearly a quarter of the state remains without any drought conditions.
North Dakota: The percentage of North Dakota in exceptional drought increased to 13.73% from 10.37% last week. Extreme drought also increased to 46.47% from 41.91%. Nearly 98% of the state is in severe drought or worse.
South Dakota: South Dakota saw a slight increase in extreme drought, from 17.86% last week to 19.72% this week. Conditions otherwise stayed relatively unchanged, and 0.96% of the state remains without any drought conditions.
Wisconsin: Drought conditions eased slightly in Wisconsin this week. The state is now considered 62.15% out of drought conditions, compared to 53.59% last week. Abnormally dry, moderate drought and severe drought categories all decreased.