Abnormally Dry Conditions End across Southwest Wisconsin

Updated on Friday, October 17, 2014

Daily Monitoring of Drought Impacts & Outlooks


From October 13th through October 15th, a strong fall storm system brought 1 to 2.5 inches of rain to southwest Wisconsin.  Many locations picked up almost an entire October's worth of rain in just 2 days.  This rain was slow and steady, so it was able to soak into the soils.  This alleviated the abnormally dry (D0) conditions across Crawford, Grant, Richland, and Vernon counties in southwest Wisconsin and far southern Juneau County in central Wisconsin.  The image below shows the precipitation amounts that fell from October 8 to October 14, 2014.

September 24-30, 2014 precipitation amounts

With no counties in the La Crosse Hydrologic Service Area (HSA) being either abnormally dry (D0) or in drought, this will be the last update to this page.

U.S. Drought Monitor Summary:

In the October 14th release of the U.S. Drought Monitor, abnormally dry (D0) conditions were found across parts of central and northeast South Dakota, northeast and south-central Minnesota, 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 October 14, 2014 

State Drought Statistics

Iowa Drought Statistics

Minnesota drought statistics

Wisconsin Drought Statistics




Local Area Affected: 

Recent rains have alleviated the abnormally dry (D0) conditions across Crawford, Grant, Richland, and Vernon counties in southwest Wisconsin and far southern Juneau County in central Wisconsin.  No counties in the La Crosse Hydrologic Service Area (HSA) are currently being affected by either abnormally dry (D0) or drought.

County map of drought conditions across northeast Iowa, southeast Minnesota, and western Wisconsin as of October 7, 2014.

National, State and Local Actions:

No known actions are taking place at this time.

Climatological Summary:


From October 13th through October 15th, a strong fall storm system brought 1 to 2.5 inches of rain to southwest Wisconsin.  Many locations picked up almost an entire October's worth of rain in just 2 days.  This rain was slow and steady, so it was able to soak into the soils.  This alleviated the abnormally dry (D0) conditions across Crawford, Grant, Richland, and Vernon counties in southwest Wisconsin and far southern Juneau County in central Wisconsin.   


Since July 1st, a series of Canadian cold fronts kept the area cooler-than-normal.  From July 1st through October 14th, temperatures averaged from 1 to 3 degrees below normal in southwest Wisconsin.  Fortunately, this 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 October 14, 2014.

Temperature Departures from July 1 through October 14, 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, clear and dry days with below average temperatures allowed fieldwork to advance rapidly for the week ending on October 12th.  Frosts and freezes were widespread, with overnight lows falling into the 20s in the north and reaching the lower 30s across the rest of the state.  Several reporters commented that late planted corn was still immature when a killing frost hit their area.  Though topsoil moistures fell on average, field conditions were reportedly still muddy in northern parts of the state, hampering fieldwork there.  Soybeans harvest, fall tillage, winter wheat planting, and manure spreading were all in full swing. Corn was being chopped for silage and combined for high moisture feed.  Some corn was being harvested for grain in the south but reporters noted that corn is weeks away from a dry grain harvest across the north and central portions of the state.  Fourth crop hay cutting slowed this week as silage and soybeans took priority.  Cranberries, apples, pumpkins, and other fall fruit and vegetable crops were being harvested as well, keeping farm stands busy statewide.

There were 6.0 days suitable for fieldwork.

Across the reporting stations, average temperatures were 4 to 9 degrees below normal. Average high temperatures ranged from 56 to 60 degrees, while average low temperatures ranged from 29 to 41 degrees.  The five major reporting stations received no measurable precipitation this week.

As of October 12, ninety-four percent of corn was in or beyond the dent stage and 66 percent was mature. Corn for grain was 7 percent harvested. Corn for silage was 67 percent harvested, up 20 percentage points from the previous week. Corn condition was rated 73 percent good to excellent.

Ninety percent of soybeans had leaves dropping. Soybeans harvested reached 30 percent, up 23 percentage points from the previous week. Soybeans condition was rated 72 percent good to excellent.

Winter wheat was 60 percent planted and 28 percent emerged.

Potatoes were 95 percent harvested.

The fourth cutting of alfalfa was 86 percent complete.

Pasture condition was rated 61 percent good to excellent.

Fall tillage was 20 percent complete.

County farm reporter and county agricultural agents said the following:

In Buffalo County, a light rain stopped soybean harvest which is 50% done this week.  No dry corn harvested yet.  Some haylage made, some bean stalks baled, a little tillage and rye seeded. A good week for maturing crops.

In Clark County, a hard freeze overnight has probably ended the growing season.  Corn silage is full go this week as plant moisture is declining.  Soybean harvest is beginning with early planted soybeans going into the bin.  Hay may be on hold with corn silage harvest, but there is some to be harvested.  Fall pumpkin patches and apple orchards are busy.  With harvest, emptying of manure pits is also in full swing with fall tillage following the application of nutrients.

In Grant County, it was too late to plant any winter wheat.

NASS Soil Moisture Conditions
in Iowa, Minnesota, & Wisconsin
Sub soil or Top Soil
Very Short
as of
October 12, 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 October 14th, 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 17th through October 23rd, temperatures will be near- to above-normal and precipitation will be below-normal.  During this time frame, the daily average temperatures range from 44 to 49 degrees and the normal precipitation is around a half inch.

From October 24th through October 30th, the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) is forecasting above-normal temperatures and below-normal precipitation.  During this time frame, the daily average temperatures range from 41 to 46 degrees and the normal precipitation is around 4 tenths of an inch.

The CPC seasonal outlook for November of 2014 through January of 2015 calls for near- to above-normal temperatures and near- to 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:

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