National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

The Drought Improves Some

Updated on Thursday, October 14, 2021
Next Scheduled Update:  Thursday, October 21, 2021

 

Summary:


From October 5 to October 12, rainfall totals ranged from 2 to 5 inches in parts of northeast Iowa, and they were up to 3 inches in Grant County. Normally, a half-inch of rain typically falls during this time period. This rain caused some improvement in the drought across northeast Iowa and southwest Wisconsin.

U.S. Drought Monitor Summary:

In the October 12 release of the U.S. Drought Monitor, moderate (D1) to extreme (D3) drought was found across the northern third of Minnesota. 

Abnormally dry (D0) to severe (D2) drought was found across the northern half of Iowa, far northern Wisconsin near Lake Superior, southeast Wisconsin, and northern Illinois. 

Abnormally dry (D0) to moderate (D1) drought was found in the southern half of Iowa and southern two-thirds of Minnesota.

NoteThe data cutoff for Drought Monitor maps is Tuesday at 7 a.m. Central Daylight Time.

U.S. Drought Monitor for October 12, 2021 

State Drought Statistics

Iowa Drought Statistics

Minnesota drought statistics

Wisconsin Drought Statistics

Iowa

Minnesota

Wisconsin


Local Area Affected:

Abnormally Dry (D0) to Severe (D2) Drought in all or parts of:

  • Northeast Iowa: Floyd County.

Abnormally Dry (D1) to Moderate (D1) Drought in all or parts of:

  • Northeast Iowa:  Clayton, Fayette, and Mitchell counties.
  • Western Wisconsin:  Grant County.

Abnormally Dry (D1) in all or parts of:

  • Northeast Iowa:  Chickasaw, Howard, and Winneshiek counties.
  • Southeast Minnesota:  Dodge, Fillmore, Mower, Olmsted, and Wabasha counties.
  • Western Wisconsin:  Crawford and Richland counties.
La Crosse WI CWA Latest Drought Information


State/Local Government Actions:

No known actions are taking place at this time.

Climatological Summary:

2021 Growing Season:

  • From April 1 through October 12, precipitation anomalies ranged from 6 inches above normal to up to 12 inches below normal in northeast Iowa, from 3 above normal to 12 inches below normal in southwest Wisconsin, and from 3 inches above normal to 9.5 inches drier than normal in southeast Minnesota.
  • For the growing season, the lowest rain totals include Elkader 6 SSW, IA (16.90 inches - 11.89 inches drier than normal - 5th driest), Guttenberg, IA (17.42 inches - 10.06 inches drier than normal - 9th driest), and Lancaster 4 WSW, WI (18.54 inches - 9.84 inches drier than normal - 10th driest).

Calendar Year:

  • Through October 12, precipitation anomalies ranged from 3 inches above normal to up to 12 inches below normal in northeast Iowa and southwest Wisconsin, and from 3 inches above normal to up to 12 inches below normal in southeast Minnesota.
  • For the calendar year, the lowest precipitation totals include Elkader 6 SSW, IA (21.68 inches - 11.77 inches drier than normal - 8th driest), Oelwein, IA (22.15 inches - 7.49 inches drier than normal - 7th driest), and Lake City, MN (22.25 inches - 7.07 inches drier than normal - 11th driest).

The maps below show precipitation deficits and surpluses for the growing season and 2021. 

Precipitation deficits April 1 to October 12, 2021 Precipitation deficits January 1 to October 12, 2021
Growing Year Deficits 2021 Deficits


Due to these short and long-term precipitation deficits, moderate (D1) to severe (D2) drought covers 3.55% of the La Crosse Hydrologic Service Area (HSA), and another 26.6% is abnormally dry (D0).

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 be found at the website:

U.S. Drought Monitor

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:

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.

http://drought.rcc-acis.org/

 

River and Stream Flow Conditions:

As of the morning of October 12, the river and stream flows ranged from below to above normal in southeast Minnesota, from near to above normal in southwest and central Wisconsin, and from near to much above normal in northeast Iowa.

NOTE: This is time-sensitive and conditions could change.  Updated river and streamflow conditions can be found via links to the right.

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 that are at or near record flows can be found at:

 

Agricultural Impacts:

The following reports came from the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service for the week ending on October 10, 2021.

Iowa:

Scattered precipitation slowed harvest in some areas, but statewide Iowa’s farmers had 5.3 days suitable for fieldwork during the week. Field activities included harvesting soybeans and corn, fall tillage, and applying fertilizer.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 12 percent very short, 31 percent short, 55 percent adequate, and 2 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 18 percent very short, 36 percent short, 45 percent adequate, and 1 percent surplus.

Ninety-five percent of the corn crop has reached maturity, 8 days ahead of the 5-year average. Close to one-third of corn for grain has been harvested at 30 percent complete statewide, also 8 days ahead of normal. The moisture content of field corn being harvested for grain was 19 percent. Iowa’s corn condition rated 62 percent good to excellent.

Soybeans dropping leaves or beyond reached 96 percent, one week ahead of normal. More than half of Iowa’s soybean crop has been harvested at 56 percent, 9 days ahead of the five-year average. Soybean condition was rated 63 percent good to excellent.

Pasture condition rated 32 percent good to excellent. Overall, livestock was faring well, although conditions varied with some reports of muddy feedlots but also water shortage issues for cattle on pasture.

Minnesota:

Increased rainfall allowed 5.4 days suitable for fieldwork during the week. Reports indicated that warm weather slowed sugarbeet harvesting. Harvesting of row crops was the week’s primary activity.

Topsoil moisture supplies were rated 4 percent very short, 21 percent short, 70 percent adequate, and 5 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies were rated 11 percent very short, 36 percent short, 51 percent adequate, and 2 percent surplus.

Corn in the mature stage reached 97 percent, equal to last year but ten days ahead of the 5-year average. Corn harvested for grain reached 36 percent, two days ahead of last year and twelve days ahead of the average. Moisture content was 19 percent. Corn condition rated 40 percent good to excellent.

Soybeans harvested reached 83 percent, equal to last year but over two weeks ahead of the average.

Dry beans harvest was 92 percent complete. Potatoes were 82 percent harvested. Sunflowers reached 33 percent harvested. Sunflower condition rated 45 percent good to excellent. Sugarbeets reached 17 percent harvested. Sugarbeets condition rated 72 percent good to excellent.

Pasture condition was 16 percent very poor, 28 percent poor, 38 percent fair, 15 percent good and 3 percent excellent. No reports of livestock concerns were received.

Wisconsin:

Wisconsin had 4.7 days suitable for fieldwork for the week. Temperatures were above normal across the state with many areas 10 or more degrees above normal. Precipitation was near normal for most of Wisconsin. Farmers harvested corn (both grain and silage), soybeans, hay, and potatoes. Several reporters also mentioned manure application.

Topsoil moisture condition rated 8 percent very short, 11 percent short, 77 percent adequate, and 4 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture condition rated 10 percent very short, 12 percent short, 74 percent adequate, and 4 percent surplus.

Ninety-one percent of the corn crop was mature, 1 day ahead of last year and 16 days ahead of the 5-year average. Harvest for grain was 24 percent complete, 6 days ahead of last year and 11 days ahead of normal. Corn silage was 95 percent harvested.

The moisture content of field corn harvested for grain was 21 percent. Corn condition was 73 percent good to excellent, unchanged from last week.

Soybeans dropping leaves or beyond reached 97 percent. Soybean harvest was 47 percent complete, 2 days ahead of last year and 8 days ahead of the average. Soybean condition rated 73 percent good to excellent, unchanged from last week.

Potato harvest was 82 percent complete, 4 days behind last year.

Winter wheat planting reached 74 percent complete, 2 days behind last year but 9 days ahead of the 5-year average. Fortyseven percent of winter wheat has emerged, 4 days behind last year but 6 days ahead of normal.

The 4th cutting of alfalfa hay was 96 percent complete.

Pasture condition rated 62 percent good to excellent, 2 percentage points above the previous week.

Fall tillage was 30 percent complete, 14 days ahead of the 5-year average.

 

NASS Soil Moisture Conditions in Northeast Iowa, Southeast Minnesota,
& Western Wisconsin as of October 10, 2021
State
Region
Soil
Percent of Moisture
Very Short
Short
Adequate
Surplus
Iowa  North-Central Top Soil 1 31 67 1
Sub Soil 11 37 52 0
Northeast Top Soil 2 21 72 5
Sub Soil 3 24 71 2
Minnesota  State Top Soil 4 21 70 5
Sub Soil 11 36 51 2
Wisconsin  Southwest Top Soil 15 9 74 2
Sub Soil 19 3 77 1
West-Central Top Soil 2 13 85 0
Sub Soil 3 13 83 1
Central Top Soil 0 16 75 9
Sub Soil 0 6 81 13
North-Central Top Soil 0 1 99 0
Sub Soil 1 1 98 0

Soil moisture supply measures how much moisture is present in cropland topsoil 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.

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:

Fire Danger Hazards:

As of the morning of October 12, there was low (fires are not easily started) to moderate (fires start easily and spread at a moderate rate) fire danger across southeast Minnesota, and low fire danger in northeast Iowa and from southwest into central Wisconsin.

NOTE: This is time-sensitive and conditions could change day-to-day  Fire conditions can change drastically on drier, windy days.  Updated DNR fire conditions can be found via links to the right.

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 14 to October 19, temperatures will average near normal, and rainfall will range from below to near normal.  During this time frame, daily average temperatures range from 46 to 51 degrees, and the normal precipitation is around a half-inch. 

Beyond this time frame, the 8 to 14-day forecast (October 20 to October 26) from the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) calls for enhanced chances for above-normal temperatures and below-normal precipitation. The daily average temperatures for this period range from 43 to 48 degrees and the normal precipitation is around a half-inch. 

From November 2021 through January 2022, the Climate Prediction Center has equal chances of above-, near-, and below-normal temperatures and precipitation for the Upper Mississippi River Valley.

Below are the seasonal outlooks for the next year.

Seasonal Temperature Outlooks

Precipitation Outlooks

Temperatures

Precipitation

For updated temperature and precipitation probabilities consult the following Climate Prediction Center (CPC) Web Sites:

NCEP's CFSv2 (Coupled Forecast System Model Version 2):

County Analysis Precipitation Tool

Questions or Comments:

If you have any questions or comments about this drought information please contact the NWS La Crosse at:

E-mail: nws.lacrosse@noaa.gov
Telephone: 608-784-8275

The climate and drought focal point at the NWS La Crosse is Jeff Boyne.

Other Contacts:

Local Agricultural Impacts:

State climate impacts: