National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Dryness Continues in Some Areas

Updated on Thursday, November 12, 2020
Next Scheduled Update:  Thursday, November 26, 2020



From October 27 through November 10, 1 to 3 inches of precipitation fell north of a line from Oelwein, IA to Waupaca, WI.  Normally, rainfall totals are around an inch during this time period.  With precipitation deficits since July 1 in the 1 to 5-inch range, no changes were made to the abnormally dry (D0) areas of southeast Minnesota, northeast Iowa, and west-central Wisconsin.  

October 27-November 10, 2020 Precipitation Totals

U.S. Drought Monitor Summary:

In the November 10 release of the U.S. Drought Monitor, abnormally dry (D0) to extreme (D3) drought was seen across the western half of Iowa. 

Abnormally dry (D0) to moderate (D1) drought was seen across southwest, west-cenral, and northeast Minnesota; and central Illinois. 

Abnormally dry (D0) conditions were seen in northwest, central. east-central, and southeast Minnesota; in west-central Wisconsin; and parts of eastern Iowa.

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

U.S. Drought Monitor for November 10, 2020 

State Drought Statistics

Iowa Drought Statistics

Minnesota drought statistics

Wisconsin Drought Statistics




Local Area Affected:

Abnormally Dry (D0) in all or parts of:

  • Northeast Iowa:  Allamakee, Chickasaw, Fayette, Floyd, Howard, Mitchell, and Winneshiek counties.
  • Southeast Minnesota:  Fillmore, Houston, Mower, Olmsted, Wabasha, and Winona counties.
  • West-Central and Southwest Wisconsin:  Buffalo, La Crosse, and Trempealeau counties.
La Crosse WI CWA Latest Drought Information

State/Local Government Actions:

No known actions are taking place at this time.

Climatological Summary:

Since July 1, 1 to 5-inch precipitation deficits have developed across northeast Iowa, southeast Minnesota, and west-central Wisconsin.  Due to these rainfall deficits, abnormally dry (D0) conditions continue.

Here is a map of the precipitation deficits & surpluses from July 1 to November 10, 2020. 

Precipitation deficits July 1 through November 10, 2020

The following tables show the precipitation totals and deficits from July 1 through November 10, 2020.

Northeast Iowa, Southeast Minnesota, & Western Wisconsin
Precipitation Deficits & Surpluses
Northeast Iowa County Rain Total
(July 1 to
November 10, 2020)
from Normal
Osage Mitchell 9.23" -6.27"
Charles City Floyd 10.97" -4.25"
Ionia 2 W Chickasaw 12.20" -3.53"
Decorah Winneshiek 12.46" -2.93"
St. Ansgar Mitchell 12.51" -3.23"
Oelwein 1E Fayette 12.55" -5.46"
Fayette Fayette 12.67" -3.97"
Elkader 6 SSW Clayton 17.24" +2.05"
Strawberry Point Clayton 17.37" +0.75"
Guttenberg L & D 10 Clayton 17.55" +2.87"
Southeast Minnesota County Rain Total
(July 1 to
November 10, 2020)
from Normal
Lake City Wabasha 10.56" -4.83"
Minnesota City Dam 5 Winona 10.81" -4.59"
Theilman 1SSW Wabasha 10.97" -5.09"
Altura 5W Winona 11.54" -4.77"
Austin WWTF Mower 11.85" -3.85"
Wabasha Wabasha 11.90" -4.56"
Elgin 2SSW Olmsted 12.26" -3.69"
La Crescent Dam 7 Winona 12.40" -3.87"
Preston Fillmore 12.56" -3.45"
Winona Dam 5A Winona 12.60" -2.81"
Rochester International Airport Olmsted 14.20" -1.22"
Caledonia   Houston 14.37" -2.27"
Rochester AP 2 NE Olmsted 15.48" -0.57"
West-Central &
Southwest Wisconsin
County Rain Total
(July 1 to
November 10, 2020)
from Normal
La Crosse Municipal Airport La Crosse 12.52" -2.43"
Alma Dam 4 Buffalo 12.63" -4.69"
Neillsville 3ESE Clark 12.64" -3.63"
La Crosse 4 NNW La Crosse 13.02" -2.51"
Genoa Dam 8 Vernon 13.63" -2.82"
La Crosse NWS La Crosse 13.68" -2.53"
Trempealeau Dam 6 Trempealeau 14.10" -1.59"
Sparta Monroe 14.37" -1.08"
Steuben 4 SE Crawford 14.58" -0.57"
La Farge Vernon 14.59" -2.18"
Medford Taylor 14.76" -1.96"
Owen 1E Clark 14.86" -1.43"
Viroqua Vernon 15.00" -1.30"
Mather 3 NW Jackson 16.21" +0.80"
Prairie du Chien Crawford 16.46" +1.71"
Necedah 5 WNW Juneau 17.06" +1.93"
Friendship Adams 17.67' +1.61"
Lancaster 4 WSW Grant 20.04" +4.96"
Mauston 1 SE Juneau 22.49" +5.30"


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:

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://droInsert Row


River and Stream Flow Conditions:

As of November 10, the river and stream flows were near- to much above-normal in southeast Minnesota and northeast Iowa, and normal to much above-normal in western Wisconsin.



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:

Agricultural Impacts:

The following reports came from the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service for the week ending on October 25, 2020.


Warmer than normal temperatures and no precipitation allowed Iowa farmers 6.6 days suitable for fieldwork. Fieldwork activities again included harvesting corn and soybeans, baling corn stalks, applying fertilizer and manure, and tillage.

Topsoil moisture condition rated 16% very short, 36% short, 48% adequate and 0% surplus. Subsoil moisture condition rated 23% very short, 36% short, 41% adequate and 0% surplus. 

Livestock producers continue to allow cattle to graze on corn stalks.


Sunshine and much warmer than normal temperatures allowed for a rapid corn harvest pace throughout Minnesota during the week ending November 8, 2020. There were 6.4 days suitable for fieldwork, the second most of the year. The University of Minnesota’s Soil, Water, and Climate department reported temperatures of 12 to 18 degrees higher than normal. Daily high temperature records were observed at Artichoke Lake, Lamberton, Milan, New Ulm, Redwood Falls, Wheaton, and Windom. Field activities included manure and fertilizer application, fall tillage, and harvesting corn for grain.

The unseasonably warm weather decreased both topsoil and subsoil moisture supplies statewide but dried some previous muddy fields for harvest. Topsoil moisture condition rated 2% very short, 12% short, 81% adequate, and 5% surplus. Subsoil moisture condition rated 5% very short, 15% short, 75% adequate, and 5% surplus.

Corn for grain harvest was 93% complete, 29 days ahead of last year and 13 days ahead of the 5-year average. Corn moisture content of grain at harvest rated at 16%. 


Wisconsin had 6.7 days suitable for fieldwork for the week ending November 8, 2020. Conditions were ideal for fieldwork this week with little to no precipitation and daytime highs in the 70s. Corn combining progressed quickly as farmers took advantage of the excellent weather. Statewide, the moisture content of field corn being harvested for grain fell to 18%. The last of the soybeans were going into the bin. Corn and soybean stalks were being chopped and baled for bedding. Fall tillage and manure spreading continued as fields were cleared. Reporters in some areas noted that farmers were finishing their fall fieldwork two to three weeks ahead of schedule. Winter wheat and other fall-planted crops were in good shape for the winter.

Topsoil moisture condition rated 3% very short, 13% short, 78% adequate, and 6% surplus. Subsoil moisture condition rated 3% very short, 15% short, 76% adequate, and 6% surplus.

NASS Soil Moisture Conditions in Northeast Iowa, Southeast Minnesota,
& Western Wisconsin as of November 8, 2020
Percent of Moisture
Very Short
Iowa  North-Central Top Soil 13 29 58 0
Sub Soil 19 40 41 0
Northeast Top Soil 3 9 88 0
Sub Soil 2 8 88 2
Minnesota  State Top Soil 2 12 81 5
Sub Soil 5 15 75 5
Wisconsin  Southwest Top Soil 0 7 93 0
Sub Soil 1 15 84 0
West-Central Top Soil 5 23 71 1
Sub Soil 4 36 60 0
Central Top Soil 0 3 83 14
Sub Soil 0 3 81 16

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%.

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 November 10, low fire danger (fires are not easily started) was seen across Minnesota and 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.

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 November 12-16, temperatures and precipitation will average near-normal.  During this time frame, the daily average temperatures range from 32 to 37 degrees, and the normal precipitation is around 4 tenths of an inch. 

Beyond this time frame, the 8 to 14-day forecast (November 17-23) from the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) calls for enhanced chances for above-normal temperatures and near- to below-normal precipitation.  During this time frame, the daily average temperatures range from 28 to 33 degrees, and the normal precipitation is near a half-inch. 

The CPC seasonal outlook from December through February has equal chances of above-, near-, and below-normal temperatures.  There are enhanced chances for it being wetter-than-normal in Minnesota and Wisconsin, and equal chances of wetter-, near-, and drier-than-normal in Iowa.

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: