Abnormally Dry Conditions Expand
Updated on Friday, August 22, 2014
From August 12th through August 19th, rainfall totals ranged from a trace near Austin MN (Mower County) and Oelwein IA (Fayette County) to 5.14 inches near Necedah, WI (Juneau County). The heaviest rain (2 to 6 inches) fell across southern Wabasha, northern Dodge, northwest Olmsted, northern Winona, counties in southeast Minnesota and northern Adams, southern Buffalo, northern Juneau, northeast Monroe, southern Trempealeau counties in Wisconsin. This rain missed the abnormally dry (D0) areas along and south of Interstate 90. These areas are seeing precipitation deficits ranging from 3 to 6 inches since June 22nd. The image below shows the 60-day precipitation departures (June 22nd to August 19th).
These precipitation deficits have allowed abnormally dry conditions (D0) to develop across all or parts of Allamakee, Chickasaw, Clayton, Fayette, Floyd, Howard, Mitchell, Winneshiek counties in northeast Iowa; Dodge, Fillmore, Houston, Mower County in southeast Minnesota; and Adams, Crawford, Grant, Juneau, La Crosse, Monroe, Richland, and Vernon counties in western Wisconsin.
This dryness has mainly impacted shallow rooted vegetation, slowed pasture and hay growth, and produced stress for crops on sandy soils. It is affecting corn pollination in southwest Wisconsin. In addition, there was high fire danger on August 14th in Crawford, Grant, Richland, and Vernon counties in southwest Wisconsin. This was mainly due to dry grass.
U.S. Drought Monitor Summary:
In the August 19th release of the U.S. Drought Monitor, moderate drought (D1) was found in parts of southeast South Dakota. Abnormally dry (D0) conditions were found across parts of northeast and western South Dakota, eastern North Dakota, south-central and southeast Minnesota, north-central and northeast Iowa, southwest and northeast Wisconsin, northeast Illinois, central Upper Michigan, northern and eastern Indiana, and south-central Lower Michigan.
Note: The data cutoff for Drought Monitor maps is Tuesday at 7 a.m. Central Daylight Time.
Abnormally dry (D0) conditions are found in all or parts of Allamakee, Chickasaw, Clayton, Fayette, Floyd, Howard, Mitchell, Winneshiek counties in northeast Iowa; Dodge, Fillmore, Houston, Mower County in southeast Minnesota; and Adams, Crawford, Grant, Juneau, La Crosse, Monroe, Richland, and Vernon counties in western Wisconsin.
National, State and Local Actions:No known actions are taking place at this time.
Persistent northwest flow since July 1st has brought several cold fronts through northeast Iowa, southeast Minnesota, and western Wisconsin. These fronts reinforced the dry air across the area. Due to this, 3 to 6 inch precipitation deficits have developed across south-central Minnesota, north-central Iowa, and western Wisconsin.
From July 1st through August 19th, the Austin, Minnesota Waste Water Treatment Facility has only received 1.74 inches of rain. This was 5.56 inches below their normal of 7.30 inches. Only 1975 (1.50 inches) was drier. Charles City, IA received 1.49 inches of rain. This was 7.61 inches below their normal of 7.50 inches. This was the driest for this time period. The previous record was 1.83 inches in 1964. Finally, Richland Center, WI received 2.28 inches of rain. This was 5.76 inches below their normal of 7.50 inches. This was the fourth driest for this time period and the driest since 1937 (1.51 inches). The driest for this time period was 1.48 inches in 1920.
The images below are courtesy of the Midwestern Regional Climate Center and it shows the precipitation departures from July 1 through August 19, 2014.
Below are the precipitation departures for various time periods in northeast Iowa.
Below are the precipitation departures for various time periods in southeast Minnesota.
Below are the precipitation departures for various time periods in western Wisconsin.
Besides bringing dry air into the region, the Canadian cold fronts kept the area cooler-than-normal. From July 1st through August 19th, temperatures average 1 to 4 degrees below normal. This fortunately kept water demand by plants lower than normal.
The images below are courtesy of the Midwestern Regional Climate Center and show the temperature departures from July 1 through August 19, 2014.
The U.S. Drought Monitor is a weekly collaborative effort between a number of federal agencies including NOAA/NWS, U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Drought Mitigation Center. Details and explanations of the Drought Monitor can found at the web site:
The categories of drought are defined as follows:
Moderate Drought (D1) - Some damage to crops, pastures; fire risk high; streams, reservoirs, or wells low, some water shortages developing or imminent, voluntary water use restrictions requested.
Severe Drought (D2) - Crop or pasture losses likely; fire risk very high; water shortages common; water restrictions imposed.
Extreme Drought (D3) - Major crop/pasture losses; extreme fire danger; widespread water shortages or restrictions.
Exceptional Drought (D4) - Exceptional and widespread crop/pasture losses; exceptional fire risk; shortages of water in reservoirs, streams, and wells, creating water emergencies.
Disaster & Drought Assistance:
Other Drought Web Sites:
This tool allows you the ability to explore data related to drought from the Regional Climate Centers (RCCs). You can look at length or periods without rain, temperature data, and more. Click on the logo below to gain access to this tool.
River and Stream Flow Conditions:
This dryness has allowed river levels to return to near-normal flows.
Hourly and forecast river stages out to 90 days can be found at:
Additional Current stream and river stages may be viewed at:
An interactive table of sites which are at or near record flows can be found at:
According to the Iowa USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service, below average precipitation has caused a drop in soil moisture, especially in the northeastern part of the State during the week ending August 17, 2014. Statewide there were 5.6 days suitable for field work during the week. Activities for the week included aerial spraying and hay baling.
Topsoil moisture levels rated 8 percent very short, 23 percent short, 67 percent adequate, and 2 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 6 percent very short, 22 percent short, 71 percent adequate, and 1 percent surplus. Northeast Iowa was the driest with over 60 percent of topsoil in very short to short condition.
Three-quarters of Iowa’s corn crop was in the dough stage or beyond, 16 days ahead of last year and 8 days ahead of the five-year average. Sixteen percent of the corn crop was in the dent stage, 10 days ahead of the previous year but 4 days behind normal. Three-quarters of the corn acreage was reported in good to excellent condition. Eighty-eight percent of the soybean crop was setting pods or beyond, 20 percentage points above last year and 2 points above average. Soybean condition was 73 percent good to excellent. Oat harvest for grain was 97 percent complete, equal to the previous year but slightly behind normal.
The second cutting of alfalfa hay was 95 percent complete, 2 percentage points below last year and 1 point below the five-year average. The third cutting of alfalfa hay advanced to 36 percent complete, 1 day ahead of the previous year but just over one week behind the normal pace. Sixty-five percent of all hay was rated in good to excellent condition. Pasture condition continued to deteriorate and was rated 54 percent good to excellent. Stress on livestock was minimal with some areas reporting higher insect populations.
According to the Minnesota USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service, weekend rain gave crops much needed precipitation during the week ending August 17, 2014. In an otherwise dry week, there were 6.0 days suitable for fieldwork across the state. Field activities for the week included spraying for aphids, cutting hay, and small grain harvesting.
Topsoil moisture supplies were rated 8 percent very short, 35 percent short, 54 percent adequate, and 3 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies were rated 4 percent very short, 24 percent short, 70 percent adequate, and 2 percent surplus.
Sixty-three percent of the corn crop was at or beyond the dough stage, up 19 points from the previous week, with 68 percent in good to excellent condition. Ninety-six percent of the soybean crop has reached the blooming stage with 85 percent of the soybean acres setting pods, up 11 points from the previous week. Soybean conditions rated 64 percent good to excellent. Spring wheat harvest is nearly 3 weeks behind the five-year average, with only 12 percent harvested.
Fifty-seven percent of the spring wheat crop was in good to excellent condition. Ninety-six percent of the oat crop was turning color or beyond, with 67 percent of the crop now harvested. Dry edible beans progressed to 98 percent at or beyond the blooming stage, with 80 percent setting pods. Dry edible bean condition decreased slightly from last week with 52 percent of the crop now in good to excellent condition. Sugarbeet conditions increased slightly from last week and now stand at 66 percent in good to excellent condition. Sunflower conditions now stand at 39 percent rated good to excellent.
The second and third cuttings of alfalfa hay were 91 and 41 percent complete, respectively. All hay conditions decreased to 66 percent good to excellent. Pasture conditions decreased to 59 percent good to excellent
According to the Wisconsin USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service, the weather pattern of the past month continued, with patchy precipitation and cooler than average temperatures throughout the week. Overnight lows dipped into the 40s across much of the state, with daytime highs averaging around 80. Again, widespread patchy rain on Monday and over the weekend brought moisture to some areas but bypassed others. This precipitation was badly needed, especially in the northeast, where rainfall for the season and the year to date remain below normal. The southwest corner of the state only received trace precipitation this week, causing a sharp drop in soil moistures there. Statewide, soil moistures were 45 percent short to very short, compared to 43 percent short to very short last week. Mild, sunny days facilitated small grains, straw, and hay harvest. However, reporters were concerned that corn was not developing quickly enough. Dry, cool conditions and late planting have contributed to uneven plant heights and maturity. Heat and precipitation are needed to ensure good cob fill in the coming weeks.
There were 6.0 days suitable for fieldwork statewide.
Across the reporting stations, average temperatures this week were 2 to 3 degrees below normal. Average high temperatures ranged from 76 to 81 degrees, while average low temperatures ranged from 54 to 60 degrees. Precipitation totals ranged from 0.07 inches in La Crosse to 1.64 inches in Green Bay
As of August 17, ninety percent of corn had silked, with 38 percent in dough stage or beyond. Corn condition was rated 67 percent good to excellent.
Ninety-four percent of soybeans had bloomed, with 79 percent setting pods. Soybeans condition was rated 68 percent good to excellent.
Ninety-five percent of the oat crop was turning color, with 55 percent harvested for grain.
Ninety percent of winter wheat had been harvested for grain, up from 74 percent the previous week.
Seventy-eight percent of potatoes were rated in good to excellent condition.
The second cutting of alfalfa was 97 percent complete and the third cutting was 57 percent complete. The fourth cutting was just beginning.
All hay condition was rated 79 percent good to excellent.
Pasture condition was rated 46 percent good to excellent, down 9 percentage points from the previous week.
County farm reporter and county agricultural agents said the following:
In Buffalo County, dry weather is limiting corn and beans on light soil. Cool nights are signs of fall and wondering when killing frost will happen.
In Clark County, winter wheat looks awful gray. Hay had a late start. We had 0.5 inch of rain last Monday. Cornfields are very uneven.
In Grant County, it just continues to be dry, week after week
In La Crosse County, this was a good week for getting things done. Hay on large wagons was going both ways on the highway. Oats were being sold at the mills. Straw was also being sold. Field corn was ripening at a rapid pace. All in all, farmers were pleased with the progress of their crops this week.
In Richland County, very dry conditions are causing crops to go backwards. The corn will likely have some level of pollination issues due to dry weather.
The map below lists the Agricultural Districts in southeast Minnesota, western Wisconsin, and northeast Iowa.
For additional information on agriculture impacts may be viewed from the:
Soil moisture supply measures how much moisture is present in cropland top soil during the week. Soil moisture is reported as a percentage. The categories very short, short, adequate and surplus must add up to 100%.
Fire Danger Hazards:
As of the morning of August 19th, moderate fire danger reported across Crawford, Grant, Richland, and Vernon counties in southwest Wisconsin. This was mainly due to dry grass.
Low fire danger was reported in Dodge, Fillmore, Houston, Mower, Olmsted, Wabasha, and Winona counties in southeast Minnesota; and Adams, Buffalo, Clark, Jackson, Juneau, La Crosse, Monroe, Taylor, and Trempealeau counties in western Wisconsin.
As a reminder, citizens should always check with local officials in their area before undertaking any outside burning. Citizens are liable for damages and suppression costs of any wildfire they may start.
Description of Fire Danger Ratings
For updated DNR Fire Conditions consult the following Web Sites:
The Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI) is a drought index that is specifically related to fire potential. The KDBI is broken into four categories which indicate the susceptibility of ground fuels to fire danger. Below are the four categories and a brief description of each.
KBDI and Dead Fuel Moisture data can be found through the:
From August 22nd through August 27th, both temperatures and precipitation will average above normal. During this time frame, the daily average temperatures range from 65 to 70 degrees and the normal precipitation is around 8 tenths of an inch.
From August 28th through September 3rd, the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) is forecasting below-normal temperatures and above-normal precipitation. During this time frame, the daily average temperatures range from 64 to 69 degrees and the normal precipitation is around an inch.
The CPC seasonal outlook for September through November of 2014 calls for equal chances for above-, near-, and below-normal temperature and precipitation.
Below are the seasonal outlooks for the next year.
|For updated temperature and precipitation probabilities consult the following Climate Prediction Center (CPC) Web Sites:
NCEP's CFSv2 (Coupled Forecast System Model Version 2):
Questions or Comments:
If you have any questions or comments about this drought information please contact the NWS La Crosse at:
State climate impacts: