Abnormally Dry Conditions Expand Across Parts 
of the Area

Updated on Thursday, October 2, 2014
Next Scheduled Update on Thursday, October 9, 2014

Daily Monitoring of Drought Impacts & Outlooks


From  September 24th through September 30th, rainfall totals across southwest Wisconsin ranged from just a trace near Lancaster and Steuben to 0.34 inches at La Farge and from a trace near Spring Grove and Spring Valley to 0.12 inches at Austin in southeast Minnesota.  Normally, 6 tenths of an inch of rain falls during this time period.  As a result, 2 to 6 inch precipitation exist across southeast Minnesota and  3 to 8 inch precipitation deficits are found in southwest Wisconsin.  Therefore, the abnormally dry (D0) conditions continue across parts of Crawford, Grant, Richland, and Vernon counties in southwest Wisconsin and it has recently developed in far southern Juneau County in central Wisconsin, and in Dodge, northwest Olmsted, and western Wabasha counties in southeast Minnesota.  The image below shows the precipitation amounts that have fallen from September 24-30, 2014.

September 24-30, 2014 precipitation amounts

U.S. Drought Monitor Summary:

In the October 2nd release of the U.S. Drought Monitor, abnormally dry (D0) conditions were found across parts of central South Dakota, southern and northn Minnesota, southwest Wisconsin, south-central Lower Michigan, and a small portion of northeast Indiana and northwest Ohio.

Note: The data cutoff for Drought Monitor maps is Tuesday at 7 a.m. Central Daylight Time.

U.S. Drought Monitor for September 30, 2014 

State Drought Statistics

Iowa Drought Statistics

Minnesota drought statistics

Wisconsin Drought Statistics




Local Area Affected:

Despite recent rains, abnormally dry (D0) conditions still exist across Crawford, Grant, Richland, and Vernon counties in southwest Wisconsin.

Abnormally dry (D0) conditions have recently developed in far southern Juneau County in central Wisconsin, and in Dodge, northwest Olmsted, and western Wabasha counties in southeast Minnesota

County map of drought conditions across northeast Iowa, southeast Minnesota, and western Wisconsin as of September 18, 2014.

National, State and Local Actions:

No known actions are taking place at this time.

Climatological Summary:


Persistent northwest flow since early July brought several cold fronts through southwest Wisconsin.  These fronts reinforced the dry air across the area.  2 to 6 inch precipitation exist across southeast Minnesota and  3 to 8 inch precipitation deficits are found in southwest Wisconsin.  Due to this, abnormally dry (D0) conditions to continue across southwest Wisconsin, and have recently developed across parts of southeast Minnesota.

The images below are courtesy of the Midwestern Regional Climate Center and it shows the precipitation departures from July 1 through September 30, 2014.

Precipitation Departures from July 1 through September 30, 2014 

Below are the precipitation departures for various time periods in southeast Minnesota.

Precipitation departures for various time periods in southeast Minnesota.

Below are the precipitation departures for various time periods in western Wisconsin.

Precipitation departures for various time periods in western Wisconsin.


Since July 1st, a series of Canadian cold fronts kept the area cooler-than-normal.  From July 1st through September 29th, temperatures averaged from 0 to 2 degrees below normal in southeast Minnesota and from 0 to 3 degrees below normal in southwest Wisconsin and .  Fortunately, this has 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 September 29, 2014.

Temperature Departures from July 1 through September 29, 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:

Abnormally Dry (D0) - Going into drought: short-term dryness slowing planting, growth of crops or pastures; fire risk above average. Coming out of drought: some lingering water deficits; pastures or crops not fully recovered.

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.

Potential Evapotranspiration Rates:

Disaster & Drought Assistance:

City Information:

Other Drought Web Sites:

Drought ACIS:

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:

River flows are currently near- to above-normal for this time of year.

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:

Agricultural Impacts:


According to the Wisconsin USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service, warm and sunny days and minimal precipitation boosted crop maturity and allowed farmers to make good progress on fall fieldwork during the past week.  After a chilly Monday, daytime highs crept steadily upward, reaching the upper 70s and low 80s by the weekend.  The southern part of the state saw clear skies, while the north received scattered showers midweek.  Topsoil moistures fell slightly with 12 percent surplus statewide compared to 15 percent surplus last week.  Field conditions remained soggy in areas of north and central Wisconsin, where excessive moisture has significantly delayed the end of the small grain harvest.  With the oat harvest not yet completed, this is the slowest harvest pace in over 30 years.  Corn silage chopping and hay bailing raced ahead as sunny days provided good drying conditions.  Apple, cranberry, and potato producers also took advantage of the fine weather to bring in crops.  These warm temperatures were much needed by late planted corn and soybeans, with reporters statewide commenting that crops were maturing well and beginning to dry down.

There were 6.2 days suitable for fieldwork statewide.

Across the reporting stations, average temperatures this week were normal  to 5 degrees above normal.  Average high temperatures ranged from 70 to 76 degrees, while average low temperatures ranged from 45 to 54 degrees.  Precipitation totals ranged from 0.00 inches in Milwaukee and Madison to 0.26 inches in Green Bay.

As of September 28, eighty-two percent of corn was in or beyond the dent stage.  Thirty-six percent of corn was mature, up 17 percentage points from the previous week.  Corn cut for silage was 31 percent harvested.  Corn condition was rated 72 percent good to excellent.

Eighty-nine percent of soybeans had leaves turning color and 58 percent had leaves dropping, up 19 and 31 percentage points respectively.  Soybeans condition was rated 73 percent good to excellent.

Ninety-five percent of oats for grain had been harvested.

Winter wheat was 20 percent planted.

Potatoes were 67 percent harvested.

The third cutting of alfalfa was 97 percent complete and the fourth cutting was 67 percent complete.

Pasture condition was rated 67 percent good to excellent.

Fall tillage was 9 percent complete.

County farm reporter and county agricultural agents said the following:

In Clark County, the oats have been too wet and the harvest is not good.  However last week was very good for beans. We really need some good drying weather, because the fields are still too wet.

In Grant County, the temperature for the past week have been much above normal with no rain.  This has allowed field work to be done.  However, We could use a good rain again now.

In La Crosse County, intermittent showers kept farmers out of the fields for a few days this week.  However on other days, you could see farmers racing to get crops harvested as best they could.  The last two days were very warm and sunny and made haying and silo filling a popular choice.  It was surprising to see corn cobs hanging down shortly after being exposed to the warm air when harvesting a previous row of corn.


NASS Soil Moisture Conditions
in Iowa, Minnesota, & Wisconsin
Sub soil or Top Soil
Very Short
as of
September 28, 2014
Top Soil North-Central
West- Central
Subsoil North-Central
West- Central

The map below lists the Agricultural Districts in southeast Minnesota, western Wisconsin, and northeast Iowa.

Agricultural Divisions 

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%.

Very Short - Soil moisture supplies are significantly less than what is required for normal plant development. Growth has been stopped, or nearly so, and plants are showing visible signs of moisture stress. Under these conditions, plants will quickly suffer irreparable damage.

Short - Soil dry.  Seed germination and/or normal crop growth and development would be curtailed.

Adequate - Soil moist.  Seed germination and/or crop growth and development would be normal or unhindered.

Surplus - Soil wet.  Fields may be muddy and will generally be unable to absorb additional moisture.  Young developing crops may be yellowing from excess moisture.




Fire Danger Hazards:

As of the morning of September 30th, low fire danger was reported in Dodge, Fillmore, Houston, Mower, Olmsted, Wabasha, and Winona counties in southeast Minnesota; and Adams, Buffalo, Clark, Crawford, GrantJackson, Juneau, La Crosse, Monroe, Richland, TaylorTrempealeau, and Vernon 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.

Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KDBI)
KBDI Value
Description of Fire Potential
0 to 200
Low - Wet with little danger of fire initiation
201 to 400
Moderate - Drying occurring with some fire danger
401 to 600
High - Ground cover dry and will burn readily
601 to 800
Extreme - Dead and live fuels will burn readily

KBDI and Dead Fuel Moisture data can be found through the:

Burn Bans:

 Precipitation/Temperature Outlooks: 
From October 2nd through October 6th, temperatures will average below-normal and precipitation will average above-normal.  During this time frame, the daily average temperatures range from 50 to 55 degrees and the normal precipitation is around 4 tenths of an inch.

From October 7th through October 14th, the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) is forecasting below-normal temperatures and above-normal precipitation.  During this time frame, the daily average temperatures range from 47 to 52 degrees and the normal precipitation is around a half inch.

The CPC seasonal outlook for November of 2014 through January of 2015 calls for above-normal temperature and below-normal precipitation.

Below are the seasonal outlooks for the next year.

Seasonal Temperature Outlooks

Precipitation Outlooks



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:

E-mail: w-arx.webmaster@noaa.gov
Telephone: 608-784-8275

The Climate focal point at the NWS La Crosse is Jeff Boyne.

Other Contacts:

Local Agricultural Impacts:

State climate impacts:

USA.gov is the U.S. government's official web portal to all federal, state and local government web resources and services.