Moderate Drought Comes to an End
Updated on Thursday, November 26, 2015
Next Scheduled Update on Thursday, December 24, 2015
From November 3rd through November 24th, up to 2 inches of precipitation fell across the abnormally dry (D0) and moderate drought (D1) areas of northeast Iowa, southeast Minnesota, and western Wisconsin. This was enough precipitation to end the moderate drought (D1) in the aforementioned areas.
Below are the rainfall totals from November 10 through November 24, 2015.
U.S. Drought Monitor Summary:
In the November 24th release of the U.S. Drought Monitor, moderate drought (D1) conditions continue in east-central Illinois; north-central Upper Michigan; southern Lower Michigan; and east-central and north-central Indiana.
Meanwhile abnormally dry (D0) conditions continued to surround the aforementioned moderate drought (D1) areas and across northwest, east-central, and southern Ohio, northwest and southeast Minnesota, northeast Iowa, and west-central and north-central Wisconsin.
Note: The data cutoff for Drought Monitor maps is Tuesday at 7 a.m. Central Daylight Time.
Abnormally dry (D0) conditions continue in all or parts of Crawford, La Crosse, Trempealeau, and Vernon counties in western Wisconsin; and Fillmore, Houston, and Winona counties in southeast Minnesota; and Allamakee, Chickasaw, Howard, Mitchell and Winneshiek counties in northeast Iowa.
National, State and Local Actions:
No known actions are taking place at this time.
While there has been plentiful rainfall since July 1st north of Interstate 90, much of this rain has been missing Houston and Fillmore counties in southeast Minnesota, southwest Wisconsin, and parts of northeast Iowa. Rainfall deficits from July 1st through November 24th range from 2 to 8 inches in parts of northeast Iowa, and from 2 to 6 inches in southeast Minnesota, and southwest Wisconsin. The greatest deficits were found in Genoa Dam 8 WI (5.92 inches - 4th largest deficit for this time period), Preston MN (5.34 inches - 15th largest deficit for this time period), and Cresco IA (7.33 inches - 15th largest deficit for this time period). Due to these rainfall deficits, these areas are still experiencing abnormally dry (D0) conditions.
The image below is courtesy of the Midwestern Regional Climate Center and it shows the precipitation departures from July 1st through November 26, 2015..
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.
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.
Disaster & Drought Assistance:
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.
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:
On November 23rd, the Iowa Field Office of USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) said that most of the fall fieldwork activity was already complete when fieldwork activities were halted due to wet conditions as well as accumulating snow during the week ending November 22nd. Statewide there were 2.9 days suitable for fieldwork, down nearly two full days from the previous week due to a winter storm system that moved through Iowa on Friday. Activities for the week included harvesting corn for grain, hauling manure, and minimal fertilizer application.
Topsoil moisture levels rated 0 percent very short, 4 percent short, 84 percent adequate, and 12 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 2 percent very short, 9 percent short, 81 percent adequate and 8 percent surplus.
Ninety-eight percent of the corn crop for grain has been harvested. Some producers in south central Iowa have baled corn stocks as storms had knocked the corn down and they were unable to harvest the corn for grain.
Grain movement from farm to elevator was rated 36 percent moderate to heavy, down 7 percentage points from the previous week. Off-farm grain storage availability was rated 78 percent adequate to surplus. On-farm grain storage availability was rated 69 percent adequate to surplus.
Hay and roughage supplies were rated 97 percent adequate to surplus. Livestock conditions were described as normal, although lots are muddy due to a wetter than normal November.
On November 23rd, the Minnesota Field Office of USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) said that soaking rains followed by snow across Minnesota limited fieldwork to only 2.2 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending November 22nd. Falling temperatures in the latter part of the week resulted in frozen ground in areas across the northern part of the State. When able, farmers completed fall tillage, applied fertilizers, and baled corn stalks during the week.
Topsoil moisture supplies were rated 1 percent very short, 9 percent short, 79 percent adequate, and 11 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies were rated 3 percent very short, 16 percent short, 74 percent adequate, and 7 percent surplus.
On November 23rd, the Wisconsin Field Office of USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) reported that there were 3.7 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending November 22, 2015. Daytime highs were in the upper 50s for most of Wisconsin at the beginning of this week, with heavy rain keeping farmers out of fields. A strong cold front moved through the state on Friday, bringing high winds and plunging temperatures as well as a band of snow across the southern half of the state. Snow totals ranged from a dusting to over 18 inches, with the highest totals near the Illinois border.
Daytime highs were below freezing statewide on Saturday and Sunday, and overnight lows fell into the teens and single digits. Reporters in northern Wisconsin noted that bare ground was beginning to freeze, helping combines get to the last of the standing corn. However, the combination of snow cover and frozen soil put the brakes on tillage activities for much of the state.
Topsoil moisture levels rose from the previous week, with 18 percent surplus, 76 percent adequate and 6 percent short to very short. Subsoil moisture levels also increased, with 9 percent surplus, 81 percent adequate and 10 percent short to very short.
As of November 22, corn harvested for grain had reached 92 percent complete, 1 week ahead of the five-year average. Winter wheat condition was rated 85 percent good to excellent, 2 percentage points lower than last week. Fall tillage was at 80 percent complete.
A reporter in Chippewa County noted that the apple crop was down this year due to early summer hail damage.
Below are selected quotes from farm reporters and county agriculture agents across the state of Wisconsin.
In Crawford County, the snow fall has pretty well put a halt on completing harvest and any further fall tillage. Overall, it has been a good fall with great weather. Corn yields were pretty average, soybeans seemed below average.
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%.
For additional information on agriculture impacts may be viewed from the:
As of the morning of November 24th, 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 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 November 26th through November 30th, both temperatures and precipitation will average below-normal. During this time frame, the daily average temperatures range from 24 to 29 degrees and the normal precipitation is around 3 tenths of an inch.
From December 1st through December 7th, the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) is forecasting above-normal temperatures and below-normal precipitation. During this time frame, the daily average temperatures range from 21 to 26 degrees and the normal precipitation is around 3 tenths of an inch.
During weeks 3 and 4 (December 5th through December 18th), the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) is forecasting above-normal temperatures and below-normal precipitation. During this time frame, the daily average temperatures range from 18 to 23 degrees and the normal precipitation is around 7 tenths of an inch.
The CPC seasonal outlook from January through March of 2016 calls for enhanced chances for above-normal temperatures and below-normal precipitation. This forecast is based upon a strong El Niño. This El Niño is anticipated to continue and then slowly weaken as we move into the Northern Hemisphere spring and then transition to neutral conditions for summer and potentially shift toward La Niña by late 2016.
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):
If you have any questions or comments about this drought information please contact the NWS La Crosse at:
State climate impacts: