Drought Intensifies over portions of Red River Valley of the North

As of September 25th the U. S. Drought Monitor (USDM) classified portions of the Red River Valley of the North in the Extreme Drought (D3)  category. The graphics below are from the North Dakota and Minnesota sections of the USDM. For more localized, detailed information see the NWS Grand Forks local Drought Information page here.

  

Sep 25th 2012 North Dakota (left) Minnesota (right) USDM

Total precipitation during the period in question is a significant consideration, as is the condition of crops, flows on area rivers and societal impacts. Agricultural information is gathered by partner agencies such as the NRCS or USDA, streamflow data from the USGS and we use NWS Multi-Sensor Precipitation Estimates for precipitation data.

Above is the departure from normal precipitation for the period June 28 to September 28 2012. Click for a larger image.

The determination and classifications of drought and drought intensity are a joint effort between a variety of local, State and Federal entities. The National Weather Service works closely with the respective Offices of State Climatologist, the US Department of Agriculture, County Extension Agents and more. Due t othe time of year in the Red River Valley of the North, drought classification becomes a bit more difficult; the growing season has ended and the harvest is either underway or complete so crop issues are not as clear cut. From the hydrologic standpoint, base flows on area rivers are very low and in some cases near record low levels. Another concern is the risk of Wild Fires.

Coming on the heels of a prolonged wet cycle, there is an abundance of "fuels" available for fires to start and grow. Grasses which have grown aplenty are now dry; larger fuels in the form of trees and shrubs are stressed from the prolonged warm and dry weather. Please check with the appropriate State and local government agencies for the latest Burning Restrictions in your area.

Below is the September 25th Drought Information Statement with additional details.

DROUGHT INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE GRAND FORKS ND
1103 AM CDT THU SEP 27 2012

...DROUGHT CONDITIONS WORSEN IN PORTIONS OF THE RED RIVER BASIN...

SYNOPSIS...
THIS DROUGHT INFORMATION STATEMENT ADDRESSES THE COUNTIES WITHIN
THE GRAND FORKS AREA OF FORECASTING RESPONSIBILITY. CHECK WITH
NEIGHBORING WEATHER FORECAST OFFICES FOR DETAILS ON DROUGHT
CONDITIONS ELSEWHERE ACROSS THE DAKOTAS OR MINNESOTA.

EXTREME DROUGHT CONDITIONS HAVE BEEN DECLARED IN PARTS OF THE
REGION. ROSEAU...EASTERN MARSHALL...NORTHERN BELTRAMI...NORTHERN
CLEARWATER...THE EASTERN TWO-THIRDS OF POLK...ALL OF PENNINGTON
...RED LAKE AND NORMAN COUNTIES ARE NOW LISTED IN EXTREME
DROUGHT. OVER NORTH DAKOTA GRIGGS...STEELE...TRAILL...SOUTHERN
GRAND FORKS AND SOUTHEASTERN NELSON ARE ALSO IN EXTREME DROUGHT.

ELSEWHERE MODERATE TO SEVERE DROUGHT COVER ALL OF THE RED RIVER
BASIN EXCEPT PORTIONS OF BECKER...HUBBARD...SOUTHERN BELTRAMI AND
NORTHERN LAKE OF THE WOODS COUNTIES IN MINNESOTA.

SINCE SEPTEMBER 13TH MOST AREAS HAVE SEEN VERY LITTLE RAINFALL.
ONE HALF TO ISOLATED 1 INCH RAIN AMOUNTS WERE OBSERVED IN
PORTIONS OF RICHLAND...SARGENT AND RANSOM COUNTIES IN NORTH
DAKOTA AS WELL AS WILKIN AND OTTERTAIL COUNTIES IN MINNESOTA.
THESE RAINS REPRESENT ABOUT 100 TO 150 PERCENT OF NORMAL.
OTHERWISE SINCE SEPTEMBER 13TH MOST AREAS HAVE RECEIVED SUB-
MEDIAN RAINFALL. MOST OF KITTSON...ROSEAU...BELTRAMI...
MARSHALL...POLK...PENNINGTON...RED LAKE...NORTHERN
CLEARWATER...NORMAN AND HUBBARD COUNTIES IN MINNESOTA...AND
CAVALIER...PEMBINA...EASTERN WALSH...MUCH OF GRAND FORKS...NELSON
AND TRAILL COUNTIES IN NORTH DAKOTA HAVE SEEN 5 PERCENT OR LESS
OF MEDIAN PRECIPITATION THE PAST WEEK.

SUMMARY OF IMPACTS...
ACCORDING TO THE USDA AND STATE OF NORTH DAKOTA...AGRICULTURAL
DISASTER DECLARATIONS/DUE TO THE DROUGHT/ HAVE BEEN ISSUED FOR A
VARIETY OF COUNTIES ACROSS NORTH DAKOTA AND MINNESOTA OVER THE
PAST MONTH OR SO. SEE YOUR LOCAL EXTENSION AGENCIES FOR DETAILS.

AGRICULTURAL IMPACTS.
AS THE GROWING SEASON HAS ENDED DUE TO WIDESPREAD FREEZING
TEMPERATURES ACROSS THE REGION ON SEPTEMBER 23RD AND WITH HARVEST
FULLY UNDERWAY OR COMPLETED...AGRICULTURAL IMPACTS ARE BECOMING
MORE DIFFICULT TO DEFINE. IN AREAS WHERE NEAR MEDIAN RAINS HAVE
FALLEN...THERE MAY HAVE BEEN SOME REPLENISHMENT OF TOPSOIL
MOISTURE. MOST OF THE REGION WITHIN THE RED RIVER VALLEY PROPER IS
RATED AS BEING IN THE LOWER 5 TO 10 PERCENT OF NORMAL SOIL MOISTURE
IN THE TOP 3 FEET. ACCORDING TO THE USDA...THE STATE OF MINNESOTA
HAS 33 PERCENT OF THE TOPSOIL RATED AS VERY SHORT WITH 45 PERCENT
RATED SHORT AND 22 PERCENT ADEQUATE. ACROSS NORTH DAKOTA...39
PERCENT OF THE TOPSOIL IS RATED AS VERY SHORT WITH 48 PERCENT
RATED SHORT AND 13 PERCENT ADEQUATE. MOST AREAS ACROSS EASTERN
NORTH DAKOTA AND NORTHWESTERN MINNESOTA CONTINUE WITH
PRECIPITATION DEFICITS OF 3 TO 6 INCHES SINCE APRIL 1 2012. AS IS
TYPICAL WITH SPRING AND SUMMER RAINFALL...PRECIPITATION IS
EXTREMELY VARIABLE AND USERS SHOULD REFER TO COUNTY EXTENSION
AGENTS FOR LOCAL DETAILS.

GROUNDWATER CONDITIONS.
MOST RIVERS IN THE REGION CONTINUE TO SEE LOW TO VERY LOW FLOWS.
OBSERVATIONS FROM THE U.S. GEOLOGIC SURVEY /USGS/ AND NWS
PERSONNEL SUGGEST VERY LOW TO NO FLOW CONDITIONS ON SMALLER
STREAMS AND CREEKS ESPECIALLY IN THE AREAS WITH THE GREATEST
PRECIPITATION DEFICITS. ADDITIONAL SPOT OBSERVATIONS SUPPORT THE
IDEA THAT THE TOP 6 FEET OF THE SOIL COLUMN HAVE DRIED
SIGNIFICANTLY IN THE PAST YEAR.

DATA FROM THE USGS SUGGEST GROUNDWATER CONDITIONS HAVE STABILIZED
SOMEWHAT SINCE SEPTEMBER 20TH. THIS IS PROBABLY DUE TO THE FACT
THAT THE SOILS HAVE DRAINED AND THERE IS VERY LITTLE AVAILABLE
WATER IN THE TOP FEW FEET TO PERCOLATE DOWNWARD. RIVER FLOWS ARE
IN THE LOWEST 5 TO 10 PERCENTILE ON THE RED LAKE RIVER AT
CROOKSTON...THE CLEARWATER RIVER AT RED LAKE FALLS...SOUTH BRANCH
OF THE TWO RIVERS AT LAKE BRONSON AND THE ROSEAU RIVER AT ROSS.
SIMILAR CONDITIONS EXIST ON THE TONGUE RIVER NEAR AKRA NORTH
DAKOTA...THE PEMBINA RIVER AT WALHALLA AND PEMBINA. SOME OF THE
SMALL RIVERS ARE LISTED AS NO FLOW. BASED ON THE USGS DEEP-WELLS
SOME LOCATIONS ARE NEAR OR AT RECORD LOWS...INCLUDING THE
CROOKSTON AND BEMIDJI AREAS. SLIGHTLY BETTER CONDITIONS EXIST OVER
EASTERN NORTH DAKOTA BUT THE RELEVANT MONITORING LOCATIONS ARE
SHOWING CONTINUED DECLINES IN THE GROUNDWATER TABLE....INTO THE
LOWER 25TH PERCENTILE. ACCORDING TO THE USGS...A LARGE PART OF
NORTHEASTERN NORTH DAKOTA AND THE NORTHWESTERN QUARTER OF MINNESOTA
CONTINUE TO SEE WELL BELOW NORMAL TO MODERATE HYDROLOGIC DROUGHT
CONDITIONS.

FIRE DANGER HAZARDS.
THE INFORMATION BELOW IS PROVIDED BY THE RESPECTIVE STATE
AGENCIES RESPONSIBLE FOR FIRE WEATHER MONITORING AND FIRE SAFETY.
CHECK WITH THE RESPECTIVE STATE WEB PAGES FOR DAILY UPDATES...
WILDFIRES...BURN RESTRICTIONS AND FIRE DANGER RATINGS. CONDITIONS
ARE UPDATED DAILY SO REFER BACK TO THE STATE AND LOCAL AGENCIES
OFTEN.

AS OF SEPTEMBER 26 2012...THE MINNESOTA DNR INDICATES THE FIRE
DANGER AS VERY HIGH IN POLK...RED LAKE...MOST OF BELTRAMI...ALL OF
CLEARWATER...NORMAN...MAHNOMEN...CLAY...BECKER...OTTER
TAIL...WILKIN...WADENA AND HUBBARD. HIGH FIRE DANGER IS POSTED IN
PENNINGTON...MARSHALLL.KITTSON...ROSEAU...LAKE OF THE WOODS AND
NORTHWESTERN BELTRAMI.

ACCORDING TO THE NORTH DAKOTA DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY...
BURN RESTRICTIONS ARE CURRENTLY POSTED IN EASTERN NORTH DAKOTA
FOR THE SPIRIT LAKE TRIBAL LANDS IN EASTERN BENSON AND NORTHERN
EDDY COUNTIES...AS WELL AS PEMBINA...WALSH AND GRAND FORKS
COUNTIES.

CLIMATE SUMMARY...
DURING THE PAST WEEK...TEMPERATURES HAVE BEEN 1 TO 3 DEGREES
BELOW AVERAGE ACROSS THE GRAND FORKS FORECAST AREA. WIND SPEEDS
HAVE BEEN GREATER THAN NORMAL WHICH HAS HELPED MORE QUICKLY
EVAPORATE WHAT LITTLE PRECIPITATION HAS FALLEN.

PRECIPITATION/TEMPERATURE OUTLOOK...
IN THE SHORT TERM...OVER THE NEXT 5 DAYS...TEMPERATURES SHOULD
AVERAGE ABOVE CLIMATOLOGICAL NORMALS FOR THE END OF SEPTEMBER INTO
THE FIRST FEW DAYS OF OCTOBER. LITTLE TO NO SIGNIFICANT
PRECIPITATION IS ALSO EXPECTED DURING THIS PERIOD. GENERALLY BELOW
NORMAL TEMPERATURES AND PRECIPITATION ARE EXPECTED IN THE NEAR
TERM EXTENDED FOR THE RED RIVER VALLEY REGION. THE LATEST 8 TO 14
DAY OUTLOOK WHICH EXTENDS INTO THE FIRST FULL WEEK OF OCTOBER
CALLS FOR THE CONTINUATION OF COOLER AND DRIER THAN NORMAL
WEATHER.

THE SEASONAL OUTLOOK FOR OCTOBER-NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2012 SUGGESTS
TEMPERATURES ACROSS THE RED RIVER BASIN ARE LIKELY TO AVERAGE
SLIGHTLY ABOVE NORMAL. THERE IS NO DEFINITIVE CLIMATIC SIGNAL
REGARDING EXPECTED FALL 2012 OR EARLY WINTER 2012/2013
PRECIPITATION AMOUNTS.

HYDROLOGIC SUMMARY AND OUTLOOK...
ALONG THE MAIN STEM RED RIVER...FLOWS ARE GENERALLY IN THE 50TH
PERCENTILE OR LOWER RANGE. SOME TRIBUTARIES ARE EXPERIENCING
CONSIDERABLY LOWER FLOWS. ACCORDING TO THE U.S. GEOLOGICAL
SURVEY...THE ROSEAU RIVER AT MALUNG IS SHOWING NO FLOW...AND MANY
LOCATIONS IN THE LOWER 5 TO 10 PERCENTILE. BASED ON THE AUGUST
27TH RUN OF THE ADVANCED HYDROLOGIC PREDICTION SERVICES /AHPS/
LITTLE CHANGE IN FLOWS ARE FORECAST THE NEXT 30 TO 60 DAYS. BOTH
DEVILS LAKE AND STUMP LAKE WILL EXPERIENCE SLOW AND STEADY
RECESSIONS...PERHAPS UP TO ANOTHER 1 FOOT DROP BY NOVEMBER. THESE
LAKE PROJECTIONS ARE BASED ON CURRENT OPERATING PLANS OF THE
OUTLETS... EXPECTED NORMAL PRECIPITATION AND DECREASING AMOUNTS OF
EVAPORATION.

NEXT ISSUANCE DATE... THIS PRODUCT WILL BE UPDATED ON OCTOBER 4TH
2012 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 /USE LOWER CASE LETTERS/...

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...
NWS...HTTP://WWW.WEATHER.GOV/AHPS
USGS...HTTP://WATER.USGS.GOV/
USACE...HTTP://WWW.MVR.USACE.ARMY.MIL

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS...
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
MARK.EWENS@NOAA.GOV



 

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