Drought conditions worsen throughout the region

Minnesota's overall drought conditions worsened from last week, when the state hit the exceptional drought category for the first time since the inception of the modern U.S. Drought Monitor in 1994.

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The U.S. Drought Monitor released on Aug. 19 showed a that severe, extreme, and exceptional drought have increased their foothold across much of the region.

StormTRACKER meteorologist John Wheeler said it "just did not rain" in the past week in the region, which helped exceptional drought spread in central North Dakota and part of northern Minnesota and extreme drought to spread elsewhere.

"We're really starting to see drought ramifications at all levels," Wheeler said, noting grass going dormant in places, along with water shortages and other water problems.

That's especially true in Minnesota, which reported exceptional drought conditions for the first time ever last week since the inception of the modern Drought Monitor in 1994.

"Dropping water levels on rivers, statewide water restrictions, lack of grazing or hay available for livestock, and termination of hydroelectric power generation in St. Cloud have all been reported as impacts in Minnesota," stated this week's U.S. Drought Monitor.


Wheeler said a short-term weather system expected on Friday was worthy of discussion as it could bring heavy rains to some places. He said areas on one side of the system could see "generous, steady rainfall," while areas on the other side could see "too much too quick" while still other places might get nothing.

After that, August is expected to be cooler than normal in the region, especially in North Dakota. The cooler weather is likely to be a segue to autumn, Wheeler said, noting that there may be an occasional hot day still but most of the hot weather and heat waves are over.

However, dry air also is expected to move back in.

Here's a state-by-state look at this week's U.S. Drought Monitor:

Iowa: Iowa's drought conditions got even worse across the state, with large patches of eastern and central Iowa moving deeper into drought. Extreme drought now makes up 10.47% of the state, compared to 7.15% last week.

Minnesota: Minnesota's overall drought conditions worsened from last week, with 8.07% of the state is now in exceptional drought, up from 7.37% last week.

Montana: Conditions worsened slightly in every category over the week in Montana. 13.81% of the state is now in exceptional drought, up from 11.52% last week.

Nebraska: Conditions worsened slightly in Nebraska. The state has 84.21% of land now in drought conditions, compared to 82.35% last week.


North Dakota: According to this week's U.S. Drought Monitor, "some farmers have harvested corn to use as livestock feed as drought continues to adversely affect agriculture." 15.69% of the state is now in exceptional drought, up from 14.02%.

South Dakota: Drought coverage increased in northeast South Dakota, and the entire state continues to be in some drought category.

Wisconsin: Wisconsin is still avoiding serious drought conditions, considering the region, but the state increased its abnormally dry category from 31.45% last week to 36.45% this week.

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