Heavy Rains Dent Drought and Cause Some Rivers To Rise

A strong storm system brought beneficial rains to portions of the region and the impacts are already being observed in some area rivers. Based on reports received at the Grand Forks NWS the heaviest rains were in the Devils lake Basin, and just south of the Interstate 94 and Highway 10 corridor where 3 to 5 inches of rain fall. This has resulted in some rises on a few area rivers and streams as well as immediate relief to the drought in a few areas.

However, the longer term benefits and impacts on the drought will take time to be ascertained. While it is good news for those that received it, there are several things to consider. When it rains as hard, and as much, as it did in portions of the Valley region, less rain may soak into the soil than expected. Due to the heavy clay based nature of the soil [within the Red River Valley proper] heavy rains will immediately saturate the top several inches. Even outside of the Valley, rainfall rates - such as those observed last night and this morning - can result in as much runoff as absorption into the soil. This absorption is good news for the short term. However, once the top soils are saturated additional rainfall runs-off into the drainage systems, river, creeks etc. Also, it must be considered that the overall areal coverage of heavy rains was relatively small when compared to the magnitude of the affect areas in severe drought. Stressed or weakened crops can be damaged by excessive rains rates, hail, high winds or a combination of the three. Stunted crops can be drowned in lower lying areas, and mud splattering of leaves can further stress certain crops. Finally, one big rain - while welcome - does not break the drought. Droughts such as we're seeing in the Red River Valley developed over the past 10 - 11 months and will be slow to be mitigated completely. Drought is a long term response to long term climate forcing mechanisms.

The image below depicts the Percent of Normal precipitation across the region from July 11 to July 25 2012. The yellow (dry) and red (very dry) areas still cover much more territory than the wet areas (blues and purples). This indicates that the rain falls, while welcome, impacted relatively small areas especially north of the Interstate 94 / U.S. Highway 10 Corridor.

The Percentage of Normal precipitation for July 11th - 25th 2012. Click on the image for a larger version.


Below is a RADAR estimate of rainfall from 7 am Tuesday through 7am Wednesday July 24 - 25th 2012. A broad area of one inch or more of rain fell from southeast North Dakota into west central Minnesota, with isolated rainfalls over 4 inches. Click on the image for a larger version.


Below, a broader scale RADAR estimate of rainfall from 7 am Tuesday through 7am Wednesday July 24 - 25th 2012. A broad area of one inch or more of rain fell from southeast North Dakota into west central Minnesota, with isolated rainfalls over 4 inches. Click on the image for a larger version.

 

Two areas of significant rains can be seen. The largest extends from the Kathryn and Kindred areas of southeast North Dakota eastward to Barnesville and Pelican Rapids areas of Minnesota. Rainfalls in excess of 5 inches, based of the RADAR /WSR88D/ estimates, have had immediate impacts on area drainage and river systems. The result of this heavy rainfall in portions of the southern Red River Valley a few area rivers have begun to rise. Please visit the AHPS web page here to see the latest river conditions within the Valley.

Localized flooding was reported in the City of Devils Lake, where 1 to 3, and in isolated cases 4 or more inches of rain fell. The immediate impacts to the Lake were minor, with a 0.1 foot rise noted. As the heaviest rains were in the immediate City of Devils Lake area, and much of the Devils Lake Basin received less than 1 inch of rain, only minor Lake level rises are expected. The Weather Service will monitor Lake and area inflows, issuing updates as necessary.

Below is an image of the rainfall from 7 am Tuesday through 7am Wednesday July 24 - 25th 2012, as esimated by the Doppler RADAR. A narrow band of 1 to 2 inches of rain fell, with isolated rainfalls in excess of 3+ inches mostly in the immediate City of Devils Lake area.

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Click on the image above for a larger version.

As with the rainfall across other portions of the area, there was tremendous variability in rain totals across short distances within the Devils Lake Basin.


While the rain will help alleviate drought - in those areas that received one inch or more rainfall - there are more areas that did not get the needed rainfall necessary to significantly impact the ongoing drought. The table below is based on preliminary rainfall totals received at the Grand Forks NWS as of 100 pm CDT, July 25th 2012. Note the extreme variability in rain reports from the Devils Lake area, as well as over the Fargo/Moorhead region, and portions of southeast North Dakota and west central Minnesota. A classic example of precipitation variability due to thunderstorms.

NORTH DAKOTA                                   RAIN
  LOCATION (COUNTY):                           FALL (IN)

  KINDRED (RICHLAND)...........................4.80
  HORACE 9SSE(RICHLAND)........................4.70
  DEVILS LAKE WOODLAND RESORT(RAMSEY)..........4.59
  KINDRED EAST(RICHLAND).......................4.56
  DEVILS LAKE 4W(RAMSEY).......................3.80
  DEVILS LAKE NORTH SIDE (RAMSEY)..............2.85
  AWOS @ DEVILS LAKE (RAMSEY)..................2.71
  FARGO 3.8 NNE (CASS).........................2.46
  ASOS @ FARGO AIRPORT (CASS)..................2.39
  GRAND FORKS 1SW (GRAND FORKS)................2.31
  SE GRAND FORKS (GRAND FORKS).................2.21
  GRAND FORKS NWS (GRAND FORKS)................2.07
  ASOS @ GRAND FORKS AP (GRAND FORKS)..........1.96
  DEVILS LAKE 6NW(RAMSEY)......................1.86
  DEVILS LAKE KDLR (RAMSEY)....................1.77
  NDAWN @ CANDO (TOWNER).......................1.61
  ASOS @ GRAND FORKS AFB (GRAND FORKS).........1.39
  NDAWN @ MCHENRY (EDDY).......................1.25
  FARGO 3NE (CASS).............................1.23
  NDAWN @ WAHPETON (RICHLAND)..................0.96
  ABERCROMBIE (RICHLAND).......................0.95
  HARWOOD (CASS)...............................0.94
  MAPLETON (CASS)..............................0.90
  LANKIN 9SW (WALSH)...........................0.89
  FARGO 5SW (CASS).............................0.83
  WEST FARGO 4SSE (CASS).......................0.80
  FARGO 1SSW (CASS)............................0.78
  NEW ROCKFORD 1ESE (EDDY).....................0.78
  FARGO 2SE (CASS).............................0.77
  MCLEOD (RICHLAND)............................0.76
  FARGO 1ESE (CASS)............................0.73
  HATTON, ND (TRAILL)..........................0.69
  MICHIGAN UCOOP (NELSON)......................0.67
  NEW ROCKFORD 9WNW (EDDY).....................0.60
  CAYUGA (SARGENT).............................0.58
  DURBIN (CASS)................................0.43
  NEW ROCKFORD 4N (EDDY).......................0.40
  OSLO 3WNW (WALSH)............................0.38
  LANKIN 6E (WALSH)............................0.35
  EDMORE (RAMSEY)..............................0.25
  NDAWN @ BAKER (BENSON).......................0.22
  STARKWEATHER (RAMSEY)........................0.21
  FORMAN (SARGENT).............................0.18
  LIDGERWOOD (RICHLAND)........................0.12
  LANGDON EXP FARM (CAVALIER)..................0.09
  NDAWN @ LANGDON (CAVALIER)...................0.08
  NDAWN @ CAVALIER (PEMBINA)...................0.07
  HATTON 9NW (STEELE)..........................0.07
  COOPERSTOWN (GRIGGS).........................0.06
  BUFFALO (CASS)...............................0.06
  NDAWN @ DAZEY (BARNES).......................0.05
  VALLEY CITY 2NW (BARNES).....................0.05
  MAYVILLE (TRAILL)............................0.04
  NDAWN @ GALESBURG (TRAILL)...................0.03
  NDAWN @ HILLSBORO (TRAILL)...................0.03
  AWOS @ VALLEY CITY ARPT (BARNES).............0.01
  NDAWN @ MAYVILLE (TRAILL)....................0.01
  PEMBINA (PEMBINA)............................0.01
  NDAWN @ PILLSBURY (BARNES)...................0.01

MINNESOTA                                      RAIN
  LOCATION (COUNTY):                           FALL (IN)

  NEW YORK MILLS (OTTER TAIL)..................3.72
  BARNSVILLE (CLAY)............................3.66
  PELICAN RAPIDS (OTTER TAIL)..................3.62
  PELICAN RAPIDS 1.7 WSW (OTTER TAIL)..........3.40
  HAWLEY 9.1 SSE (CLAY)........................3.28
  ROTHSAY (WILKIN).............................3.20
  DEER CREEK (OTTER TAIL)......................2.93
  SABIN (CLAY).................................2.42
  OTTERTAIL (OTTER TAIL).......................2.41
  UNDERWOOD 8NNE (OTTER TAIL)..................2.25
  MOORHEAD 6N (CLAY)...........................1.93
  AWOS @ WADENA (WADENA).......................1.75
  WASKISH (BELTRAMI)...........................1.61
  AWOS @ FERGUS FALLS (OTTER TAIL).............1.56
  ASOS @ PARK RAPIDS (HUBBARD).................1.49
  MENAHGA(WADENA)..............................1.31
  BEMIDJI 8NE (BELTRAMI).......................1.21
  MENAHGA 1E (WADENA)..........................1.18
  AWOS @ FOSSTON (POLK)........................1.15
  CLIMAX 3WNW (POLK)...........................0.97
  AWOS @ THIEF RIVER FALLS (PENNINGTON)........0.91
  AWOS @ WASKISH (BELTRAMI)....................0.85
  BEMIDJI (BELTRAMI)...........................0.78
  MOORHEAD (CLAY)..............................0.74
  ERSKINE 7.6 SW (POLK)........................0.69
  AWOS @ DETROIT LAKES (BECKER)................0.62
  CALEDONIA 1.1 SE (NORMAN)....................0.55
  CAMP NORRIS DNR (BELTRAMI)...................0.54
  AWOS @ BEMIDJI (BELTRAMI)....................0.53
  TWIN VALLEY (NORMAN).........................0.50
  AWOS @ ELBOW LAKE AWOS (GRANT)...............0.49
  WARREN 7NW (MARSHALL)........................0.35
  WARREN 7SE (POLK)............................0.32
  NDAWN @ STEPHEN (MARSHALL)...................0.30
  ARGYLE (MARSHALL)............................0.28
  GREENBUSH (ROSEAU)...........................0.28
  ASOS @ BAUDETTE (LAKE OF THE WOODS)..........0.22
  ROOSEVELT 5N (LAKE OF THE WOODS).............0.19
  WARROAD (ROSEAU).............................0.15
  AWOS @ HALLOCK (KITTSON).....................0.08
  HALSTAD (NORMAN).............................0.06
  AWOS @ ROSEAU (ROSEAU).......................0.06
  LANCASTER (KITTSON)..........................0.05
  AWOS @ WARROAD (LAKE OF THE WOODS)...........0.05
  NDAWN @ PERLEY (NORMAN)......................0.02
  HUMBOLT (KITTSON)............................0.01

The reports above are a combination of NWS Cooperative Observers, CoCoRaHS and Automated Gauges. These reports will be updated as more information is received.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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