Drought Conditions Expand Across Parts Of The Region

...Drought spreads farther into Minnesota due to hot dry weather...

This drought statement is for deteriorating conditions in portions of northwest Minnesota.  Southwest Lake of the Woods, northern Beltrami, southeast Marshall, most of Polk, Red Lake, Pennington, Norman and Mahnomen counties of Minnesota are now in severe drought.  Across eastern North Dakota southern Nelson, southern Grand Forks, Steele, Traill, Griggs, Barnes, and Cass, Ransom, Sargent and northwest Richland counties are in severe drought conditions. Below is the North Dakota and Minnesota Drought Monitor of July 17 2012. Click for a larger image.

Within the areas designated as experiencing severe drought there are small, isolated pockets that have received beneficial rainfall. However, most rainfall totals have been relatively light, generally one half inch or less. This has allowed drought conditions to continue to intensify across the region. Since the last drought statement on the 13th of July, daily average temperatures have remained 6 to 8 degrees above the climatological normal in the past week.

Summary of impacts...
As drought conditions spread and intensify, the impacts on many crops across the region are becoming more apparent. At a time when the crop water usage is near the maximum for many plants, rainfall has not been meeting the demand. Based on information provided by state and federal agencies, the soil moisture in the top 3 feet has a deficit of 50 to 75 percent below normal in the severe drought area. The USDA has rated top-soils between 48 percent short or very short as of July 15th.

Stream-flows on the smaller creeks and tributaries are generally in the lower 25 percent of the long term mean. However, some flows are below 10 percent of the mean for this time of year. A few gauging locations on the smaller creeks are reporting no measurable flow conditions based on information from the USGS groundwater monitoring system. Subsurface water levels continue to fall with portions of southeastern North Dakota approaching the lowest 10 percentile of normal. In addition, subsurface water levels are down 2 to 4 feet since the first of May 2012.

Climate summary...
A continued very slow movement of the surface and upper level weather systems has lead to the stagnant weather pattern. The very slow progression of the high has allowed for a slight cooling over the past several days. A resurgence of the system is forecast to bring a return to hot conditions into next week. As of July 18th, Fargo continues on track for the warmest calendar year on record with the University of North Dakota/NWS location in Grand Forks still seeing the second warmest. Daily average temperatures have consistently averaged 6 to 8 degrees above normal over the past week, with some locations averaging greater than 10 degrees above climatology.

Fargo Area  (ThreadEx Station)
Highest Average Average Temperature degrees F
Days: 1/1 - 7/18
Length of period: 199 days
Years: 1850-2012

Rank  Value  Ending Date
  1    46.8    7/18/2012
  2    45.7    7/18/1987
  3    43.1    7/18/2006
  4    42.9    7/18/1931,  7/18/1998
  6    42.4    7/18/1991
  7    42.3    7/18/1990
  8    41.7    7/18/2010,  7/18/1964
 10    41.6    7/18/1921

Ending Date is the last day of the 199-day period.Only periods with no missing data were evaluated. This station's record may include data from more than one, possibly incompatible, locations. It reflects the longest available record for the Fargo Area.

Highest Average Average Temperature degrees F
Days: 1/1 - 7/18
Length of period: 199 days
Years: 1850-2012

Rank  Value  Ending Date
  1    45.5    7/18/1987
  2    44.4    7/18/2012
  3    43.7    7/18/2006
  4    42.9    7/18/1981
  5    42.4    7/18/1991
  6    42.0    7/18/1990
  7    41.6    7/18/1977
  8    41.5    7/18/1983
  9    41.4    7/18/1988
 10    41.3    7/18/1931

Ending Date is the last day of the 199-day period.Only periods with no missing data were evaluated.

On average, precipitation so far in July is generally between 25 and 50 percent of normal for east central north Dakota and northwestern Minnesota. However, some areas remain below one quarter of the long term average. As is common with summer showers and thunderstorms, isolated areas have had more than one inch of rainfall this past week. Most locations within the severe drought area have missed significant rains. Generally speaking across the region, less than 1.50 inches of rain has fallen since the first of July.

Precipitation anomaly for the Red River Valley Region July 11 - 17 2012.

Precipitation/temperature outlook...
Through at least early next week temperatures are forecast to average 5 to 15 degrees above normal with below median rainfall still predicted. By the last week in July, a very subtle shift in the upper air pattern is forecast to develop. This may offer a return to a less extreme temperature pattern. There may also be an increase in rainfall over parts of the region. However, most areas are expected to remain drier than normal.

Hydrologic summary and outlook...
Base flows on all area rivers continue a gradual decrease. Along the main stem Red River, flows are generally in the 50th percentile or lower range. At Drayton it is at the 21st percentile level. Some of the tributaries are seeing less than 10 percent of normal flows with a few gauging sites at very low or no measurable flow conditions. The Rush river near Amenia and the Maple near Hope North Dakota are pretty much at no measurable flow conditions. Similar very low flows are seen on the Roseau river near Malung, the Sandhill River near Climax and the Marsh River near Shelly Minnesota.

According to the outlooks from the Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Services /AHPS/ there is the likelihood that rivers will continue to exhibit lower than normal flows for the next few weeks as soil moisture continues to slowly drain.

Next issuance date...
This product will be updated on July 26th or sooner if necessary in response to significant changes in conditions.

Related web sites...
Additional information on current drought conditions may be found
at the following web addresses

U.S. drought monitor...http://www.drought.unl.edu/dm/monitor.html
NOAA drought page...http://www.drought.noaa.gov
Climate Prediction Center /cpc/...http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov
Midwest Regional Climate center...http://mcc.sws.uiuc.edu
High Plains Regional Climate center...http://www.hprcc.unl.edu
Minnesota State climatologist...http://climate.umn.edu
ND State climatologist...http://www.ndsu.nodak.edu/ndsu/ndsco

Additional river information...

The Drought Monitor is a multi-agency effort involving NOAA’s National Weather Service and national climatic data center, the USDA, State and Regional Center Climatologists and the National Drought Mitigation Center. Information for this statement has been gathered from NWS and FAA observation sites, state cooperative extension services...the USDA, USACE and USGS.

Questions or comments...
If you have any questions or comments about this drought information statement...please contact...

National Weather Service
4797 Technology Circle
Grand Forks ND 58203
Phone...701-772-0720 x327

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