National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

No Changes in the Drought

Updated on Thursday, November 23, 2023
Next Scheduled Update:  Thursday, December 21, 2023


From November 22 through November 28, precipitation totals ranged from a trace to around a quarter of an inch. The highest precipitation total was 0.25" at St. Ansgar, IA. During this time period, typically 4-tenths of an inch of precipitation falls. With below-normal precipitation falling during the past week, there was no change in the drought situation this week.

Below are some impacts of this moderate (D1) to extreme (D3) drought.

  • Hydrologic Impacts:  Flows continue to range from below to near-normal in northeast Iowa and southeast Minnesota. The lowest flows were found along Cedar River at Charles City, IA (33% of normal); Little Cedar near Ionia, IA (27% of normal); Turkey River at Garber, IA (28% of normal); and South Fork Zumbro River at Rochester, MN (28% of normal).

Modernized Drought Information Statement (DGT) can be found here.

Note:  The impacts of any rain that fell after 7 AM Tuesday, November 28 will be evaluated next week.

U.S. Drought Monitor Summary:

In the November 28 release of the U.S. Drought Monitor, abnormally dry (D0) to extreme (D3) drought continued across Iowa. The drought is the worst in the eastern part of the state.

Abnormally dry (D0) to severe (D2) drought continues in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

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

U.S. Drought Monitor for November 28, 2023 

State Drought Statistics

Iowa Drought Statistics

Minnesota drought statistics

Wisconsin Drought Statistics




Local Area Affected:

Extreme (D3Drought in all or parts of:

  • Northeast Iowa: Chickasaw, Fayette, Floyd, Howard, and Mitchell counties.

Severe (D2) to Extreme (D3Drought in all or parts of:

  • Northeast Iowa: Clayton and Winneshiek counties.
  • Western Wisconsin: Crawford County.

Severe (D2) Drought in all or parts of:

  • Northeast Iowa: Allamakee County.
  • Western Wisconsin: Richland County.

Moderate (D1) to Extreme (D3Drought in all or parts of:

  • Southeast Minnesota: Mower County.

Moderate (D1) to Severe (D2Drought in all or parts of:

  • Southeast Minnesota: Houston County.
  • Western Wisconsin: Vernon County.

Moderate (D1) Drought in all or parts of:

  • Southeast Minnesota: Dodge County.

Abnormally Dry (D0) to Extreme (D3) Drought in all or parts of:

  • Southeast Minnesota: Fillmore County.
  • Western Wisconsin: Grant County.

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

  • Western Wisconsin: Adams, Juneau, Monroe counties.

Abnormally Dry (D0) to Moderate (D1) Drought in all or parts of:

  • Southeast Minnesota: Olmsted, Wabasha, and Winona counties.
  • Western Wisconsin: La Crosse and Taylor counties.

Abnormally Dry (D0) in all or parts of:

  • Western Wisconsin: Buffalo and Clark counties.

La Crosse WI CWA Latest Drought Information
State/Local Government Actions:

No known actions are taking place at this time in northeast Iowa, southeast Minnesota, and western Wisconsin.

Climatological Summary:

Precipitation Departures from
April 1 through November 28, 2023 (Growing Season):

  • Precipitation departures range from 2 inches above normal to 18 inches below normal. The largest deficits (7 to 18 inches) were located along and south of Interstate 90.

  • The largest deficits are located at:

    • ​Nashua 2 SW, IA  (Floyd County) - precipitation total 13.83". Deficit of 18.22".

    • Charles City, IA  (Floyd County) - precipitation total 14.65". Deficit of 17.51".

    • St. Ansgar, IA (Mitchell County) - precipitation total 17.07". Deficit of 15.43".

Precipitation Departures from April 1 through November 28, 2023.
  • Due to these deficits, abnormally dry (D0) to moderate (D1) drought continues north of Interstate 90, and severe (D2to extreme (D3drought lingers elsewhere.


The U.S. Drought Monitor is a weekly collaborative effort between several 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:

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 and 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:



River and Stream Flow Conditions:

As of the morning of November 28, the river and stream flows ranged from much below to near normal in northeast Iowa and southeast Minnesota; and below to near normal in southwest and central Wisconsin.

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:

Here are the latest Agricultural Statistics Service reports for Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin issued on November 27, 2023.


A relatively dry week with snow falling at the weekend resulted in 6.1 days suitable for fieldwork during the week. Fieldwork activities started to slow down this week with reports of fertilizer and manure application wrapping up.

  • Topsoil moisture condition rated 22 percent very short, 45 percent short, 33 percent adequate, and 0 percent surplus. 
  • Subsoil moisture condition rated 33 percent very short, 40 percent short, 26 percent adequate, and 1 percent surplus.

Corn harvested for grain is virtually complete with farmers in the southern part of the State still running a few combines, 9 days ahead of the 5-year average.

Cattle grazing on stalk fields continued this week, while no reports were received regarding livestock conditions.


The 2023 season ended with widespread snow and many frozen fields in Minnesota with 5.8 days suitable for fieldwork. Farmers were
able to complete most fall fieldwork for the year. Livestock were doing well with no issues reported.

  • Topsoil moisture supplies were rated 9 percent very short, 27 percent short, 60 percent adequate, and 4 percent surplus. 
  • Subsoil moisture supplies were rated 12 percent very short, 37 percent short, 49 percent adequate, and 2 percent surplus.

Sunflower harvest was almost complete at 95 percent.


Wisconsin had 5.9 days suitable for fieldwork for the week. Corn harvest, fall tillage, and manure application continued during most of the week. Weekend snowfall slowed the remaining fieldwork in some areas.

  • Topsoil moisture condition rated 3 percent very short, 16 percent short, 77 percent adequate, and 4 percent surplus. 
  • Subsoil moisture condition rated 6 percent very short, 24 percent short, 67 percent adequate, and 3 percent surplus.

The corn for grain harvest was 85 percent complete, near the progress from both last year and the five-year average. The moisture content of corn harvested for grain was 19 percent.

The soybean harvest neared completion with 98 percent harvested.

Ninety-seven percent of the winter wheat crop has emerged. Winter wheat condition was 66 percent good to excellent, up 1 percent from last week.

Fall tillage was 75 percent complete, 8 days behind last year. 

NASS Soil Moisture Conditions in Northeast Iowa, Southeast Minnesota, & Western Wisconsin as of November 26, 2023
Percent of Moisture
Very Short
Iowa  North-Central Top Soil 11 53 36 0
Sub Soil 22 52 20 0
Northeast Top Soil 17 33 50 0
Sub Soil 18 40 42 0
Minnesota  State Top Soil 9 27 60 4
Sub Soil 12 37 49 2
Wisconsin  Southwest Top Soil 4 18 76 2
Sub Soil 4 49 47 0
West-Central Top Soil 1 12 86 1
Sub Soil 0 18 81 1
Central Top Soil 16 14 66 4
Sub Soil 12 17 64 7
North-Central Top Soil 0 4 92 4
Sub Soil 0 4 92 4

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

Additional information on agriculture impacts may be viewed from the:

Fire Danger Hazards:

As of the morning of November 28, fire danger was moderate (fires start easily and spread at a moderate rate) across northeast Iowa.

Meanwhile, there was low (fires start easily and spread at a low rate) fire danger in southeast Minnesota. and western Wisconsin.

NOTE: This is time-sensitive and conditions could change from 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 is 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 November 30 through December 5, temperatures will average above normal, and precipitation will average below normal. During this time frame, daily average temperatures range from 25 to 30°F, and precipitation is around 3-tenths of an inch.

From December 6 through December 12 (8-14 day outlook), the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) has enhanced chances for above-normal temperatures and precipitation. The normal daily average temperatures for this period range from 22 to 27°F and the normal precipitation is around 4-tenths of an inch.

From December 13 through December 18, the CFS version 2 continues to show warmer-than-normal temperatures and near-normal precipitation. The normal daily average temperatures for this period range from 20 to 25°F and the normal precipitation is around 3-tenths of an inch.

From January through March 2024, the Climate Prediction Center has enhanced chances for above-normal temperatures and equal chances of above-, near-, and below-normal precipitation for the Upper Mississippi River Valley. Seasonal temperatures typically range from the mid-teens to mid-20s, and precipitation ranges from 3.5 to 5 inches.

Below are the seasonal outlooks for the next year.

Seasonal Temperature Outlooks

Precipitation Outlooks



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:

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: