Rains Help, but Abnormally Dry Conditions Persist
Updated on Thursday, August 28, 2014
From August 19th through August 26th, rainfall totals ranged from 0.36 inches in Oelwein, IA (Fayette County) to 5.12 inches Friendship, WI (Juneau County). The heaviest rain (1 to 4 inches) fell generally south of Interstate 90. This rain moistened up the top soils, but it was not enough to alleviate the abnormally dry (D0) conditions which have developed since late June. Even with the rains during the past week, rainfall deficits since June 29th are still ranging from 3 to 6 inches. The image below shows the 60-day precipitation departures (June 29th to August 26th).
These precipitation deficits have kept abnormally dry conditions (D0) 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.
Recent rains have helped pastures to green up and start growing again. It has also helped with the crops. The Juneau County crop reporter summed it up the best this week. "We received a million dollar rain but it was probably a couple weeks too late for some of the lighter soils and knobs in fields. There were some soybeans that had already burned up due to lack of rain. Warm temperatures over the week will help push the maturity of the corn and soybeans. A lot of concern regarding crops reaching maturity and drying down this fall. Forage crops are looking good. Now we just have to wait and see what happens."
U.S. Drought Monitor Summary:
In the August 26th release of the U.S. Drought Monitor, abnormally dry (D0) conditions were found across parts of southeast South Dakota, south-central and southeast Minnesota, north-central and northeast Iowa, southwest and northeast Wisconsin, northwest Illinois, central Upper Michigan, northwest and the southern tier of counties in Lower Michigan, northern Indiana, and northwest Ohio.
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. Recent rains have helped to moisten the top soil.
From July 1st through August 26th, the Austin, Minnesota Waste Water Treatment Facility has only received 4.26 inches of rain. This was 5.33 inches below their normal of 9.59 inches. This was the 11th driest. Charles City, IA received 3.27 inches of rain. This was 5.41 inches below their normal of 8.68 inches. This was the 13th driest for this time period. Finally, Richland Center, WI received 3.99 inches of rain. This was 5.41 inches below their normal of 9.40 inches. This was the 16th driest for this time period and the driest since 1937 (1.51 inches).
The images below are courtesy of the Midwestern Regional Climate Center and it shows the precipitation departures from July 1 through August 26, 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 26th, temperatures averaged near normal to 3 degrees below normal. 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 August 26, 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.
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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, much-needed precipitation limited fieldwork to 4.2 days suitable across Iowa during the week ending August 24, 2014. Above-normal temperatures during the week aided crop development. Activities for the week included spraying for insects, baling hay, and hauling grain.
Topsoil moisture levels improved and rated 4 percent very short, 19 percent short, 73 percent adequate, and 4 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 4 percent very short, 21 percent short, 73 percent adequate, and 2 percent surplus.
Eighty-eight percent of Iowa’s corn crop was in the dough stage or beyond, 17 days ahead of last year and 8 days ahead of the five-year average. Corn crop in the dent stage reached 33 percent, 25 percentage points above the previous year but 9 points below normal. Three-quarters of the corn acreage was reported in good to excellent condition.
Ninety-four percent of the soybean crop was setting pods or beyond, 13 percentage points above last year and 1 point above average. With a few farmers reporting soybean leaves starting to turn color, 73 percent of the soybean acreage was in good to excellent condition.
Oat harvest for grain was nearing completion, slightly behind the previous year and normal.
With the second cutting of alfalfa hay nearing completion, the third cutting of alfalfa hay was 46 percent complete, 11 percentage points below last year and 18 points below the five-year average. Sixty-four percent of all hay was rated in good to excellent condition. Pasture condition rated 56 percent good to excellent.
Stress on livestock increased this week due to heat and flies.
According to the Minnesota USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service, widespread rains slowed small grains harvesting and allowed for 4.5 days suitable for fieldwork across the state during the week ending August 24, 2014. The additional rains helped improve row crop and pasture conditions. Field activities for the week included tilling preventative planting acres for weed control, spraying for aphids, and preparing combines for harvest.
Seventy-eight percent of the corn crop was at or beyond the dough stage, up 15 percentage points from the previous week, with 71 percent in good to excellent condition. Ninety-two percent of the soybean acres are setting pods, up 7 points from the previous week. Soybean conditions increased slightly and now stand at 66 percent good to excellent. Spring wheat harvest, at 22 percent complete, is nearly three weeks behind the five year average. Fifty-seven percent of the spring wheat crop was in good to excellent condition. Five percent of the potato crop has been harvested, 12 points behind average. Potato conditions decreased slightly to 83 percent good to excellent. Seventy-five percent of the oat crop is now harvested, 5 days behind the five-year average. Dry edible beans progressed to 85 percent setting pods. Dry edible bean condition increased slightly from last week with 55 percent of the crop now in good to excellent condition. Sugarbeet conditions increased from last week and now stand at 70 percent in good to excellent condition. Sunflower conditions held steady at 39 percent rated good to excellent.
The second and third cuttings of alfalfa hay were 94 and 53 percent complete, respectively. All hay conditions increased to 68 percent good to excellent. Pasture conditions increased to 63 percent good to excellent.
According to the Wisconsin USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service, long-awaited rains finally arrived this week, with reporters noting 1 to 3 inches of precipitation across most of the state and higher totals in isolated areas. Multiple storm systems, morning fogs, and heavy dew slowed haying and small grains harvest, but benefitted row crops. Topsoil moistures rose statewide, with 18 percent short to very short compared to 45 percent short to very short last week. Above-normal temperatures and high humidity accelerated growth in hay, pasture, corn, and soybeans. However, reporters noted that weeds and mold were also appearing in response to damp conditions and that some fields had become too wet to enter. Additional heat units are still needed to make up for late plantings and slow growth throughout this unusually cool season. There were 3.8 days suitable for fieldwork statewide.
Across the reporting stations, average temperatures this week were 1 to 5 degrees above normal. Average high temperatures ranged from 76 to 84 degrees, while average low temperatures ranged from 60 to 69 degrees. Precipitation totals ranged from 0.87 inches in Eau Claire to 2.74 inches in Milwaukee.
As of August 24, ninety-five percent of corn had silked, with 53 percent in the dough stage or beyond and 10 percent in the dent stage. Corn condition was rated 68 percent good to excellent.
Ninety-six percent of soybeans had bloomed and 88 percent were setting pods. Soybeans condition was rated 69 percent good to excellent.
Sixty-four percent of oats for grain has been harvested.
Ninety-three percent of winter wheat for grain has been harvested.
Potatoes were percent 6 harvested with 77 percent rated in good to excellent condition.
The third cutting of alfalfa was 68 percent complete and the fourth cutting was 9 percent complete.
All hay condition was rated 81 percent good to excellent.
Pasture condition was rated 54 percent good to excellent, up 8 percentage points from the previous week.
County farm reporter and county agricultural agents said the following:
In Juneau County, we received a million dollar rain but it was probably a couple weeks too late for some of the lighter soils and knobs in fields. There were some soybeans that had already burned up due to lack of rain. Warm temperatures over the week will help push the maturity of the corn and soybeans. A lot of concern regarding crops reaching maturity and drying down this fall. Forage crops are looking good. I've seen some sweet corn silage moving on the road. Now we just have to wait and see what happens.
In Vernon County, the county received some badly needed rain. Pastures and hay have greened up some with 0.5-1.5 inches of rain. Producers have reported aphids in soybeans. Crops still look good to date.
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 26th, low fire danger was reported in Dodge, Fillmore, Houston, Mower, Olmsted, Wabasha, and Winona counties in southeast Minnesota; and Adams, Buffalo, Clark, Crawford, Grant, Jackson, Juneau, La Crosse, Monroe, Richland, Taylor, Trempealeau, 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.
KBDI and Dead Fuel Moisture data can be found through the:
From August 28th through September 2nd, temperatures will average near-normal and precipitation will average above normal. During this time frame, the daily average temperatures range from 64 to 69 degrees and the normal precipitation is around 8 tenths of an inch.
From September 3rd through September 9th, the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) is forecasting near-normal temperatures and above-normal precipitation. During this time frame, the daily average temperatures range from 62 to 67 degrees and the normal precipitation is around 9 tenths of 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: