National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Rains Help, But Still Abnormally Dry

Updated on Thursday, September 12, 2019
Next Scheduled Thursday, September 19, 2019




Between 1 and 3 inches of rain fell across the abnormally dry (D0) areas of southeast Minnesota, northeast Iowa, and a small portion of southwest Wisconsin.  While this rain was beneficial, it was not enough to end the abnormally dry (D0) conditions across these areas. Note:  Any rain that fell after 7 AM on September 10 was not included in this analysis.


U.S. Drought Monitor Summary:

In the September 10 release of the U.S. Drought Monitor, abnormally dry (D0) to moderate (D1) drought conditions were seen from central Iowa southeast into east-central Illinois and then northeast into the Thumb of Lower Michigan, northern Lower Michigan, and eastern Upper Michigan.

Abnormally Dry (D0) conditions were found across northern Iowa; a small portion of southwest Wisconsin, central Upper Michigan, northwest Wisconsin, and northeast Minnesota.

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

U.S. Drought Monitor for September 10, 2019 

State Drought Statistics

Iowa Drought Statistics

Minnesota drought statistics

Wisconsin Drought Statistics




Local Area Affected:

Abnormally dry (D0) conditions have expanded across parts of west-central Wisconsin and southeast Minnesota, and much of northeast Iowa.

La Crosse WI CWA Latest Drought Information

This includes the following counties...

In southeast Minnesota...

  • Houston, Fillmore, and Mower counties.

In northeast Iowa...

  • Allamakee, Clayton, Chickasaw, Fayette, Floyd, Howard, and Winneshiek counties.

In southwest Wisconsin...

  • Vernon County

State/Local Government Actions:

No known actions are taking place at this time.

Climatological Summary:

From July 1 through September 10, 2019, up to 5-inch precipitation deficits have developed across parts of northeast Iowa, and from 1 to 3 inches near the Iowa border in southeast Minnesota and western Vernon County in southwest Wisconsin.   Here is a map of the precipitation deficits & surpluses during this time period.

Wisconsin rainfall deficits July 1 through September 10, 2019.

The following tables show the precipitation totals and deficits from July 1 through September 10, 2019.

Northeast Iowa, Southeast Minnesota, & Southwest Wisconsin
Precipitation Deficits & Surpluses

Rain Total
(July 1 to
September 10, 2019)
from Normal
Grand Meadow, MN (Mower County)  7.35" -3.82"
Austin Waste Water Treatment Facility, MN (Mower County) 7.66" -2.67"
Charles City, IA (Floyd County) 7.78" -2.32"
Preston, MN (Fillmore County) 8.19" -2.33"
Oelwein 1E, IA (Fayette County) 8.49" -3.95"
New Hampton, IA (Chickasaw County) 8.52" -2.37"
Cresco 1NE, IA (Howard County) 8.72" -2.53"
Fayette, IA (Fayette County) 8.83" -2.10"
Genoa Dam 8, WI (Vernon County) 8.94" -2.05"
Decorah, IA (Winneshiek County) 9.29" -0.97"
St. Ansgar, IA (Mitchell County) 9.45" -0.27"
Caledonia, MN (Houston County) 9.59" -1.38"
Strawberry Point, IA (Clayton County) 9.61" -1.23"
Elkader 6SSW, IA (Clayton County) 9.72" +0.02"
Osage, IA (Mitchell County) 10.74" +0.74"
Ionia 2W, IA (Chickasaw County) 10.92" +0.62"
Guttenberg L & D 10, IA (Clayton County) 11.21" +1.73"
Viroqua, WI (Vernon County) 12.20" +1.33"
Westby 3ENE, WI (Vernon County) 12.75" +2.32"
La Farge, WI (Vernon County) 13.00" +2.08"
Ontario 3E, WI (Vernon County) 13.10" +2.50"


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:

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.

River and Stream Flow Conditions:

As of September 10, the river and stream flows were near to above-normal across northeast Iowa and southeast Minnesota. 



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:


Most of Iowa experienced cooler than normal temperatures and below-normal precipitation during the week ending September 8, 2019, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service.  Statewide there were 5.7 days suitable for fieldwork. Fieldwork activities included harvesting hay and seed corn, chopping corn silage, seeding cover crops and preparing machinery for corn for grain and soybean harvest.

Topsoil moisture condition was rated 5 percent very short, 26 percent short, 68 percent adequate and 1 percent surplus. Areas in 28 counties were rated as D1 moderate drought according to the September 3, 2019, U.S. Drought Monitor due to the persistent lack of rain in parts of Iowa. Subsoil moisture condition was rated 5 percent very short, 24 percent short, 70 percent adequate and 1 percent surplus.

Ninety-one percent of the corn crop was in or beyond the dough stage, 2 weeks behind last year and 12 days behind the 5-year average. Sixty percent of the crop reached the dented stage, 2 weeks behind last year and 9 days behind average. Four percent of corn had reached maturity, 11 days behind average. Corn condition rated 63 percent good to excellent. Ninety-four percent of the soybean crop has started setting pods, 18 days behind last year and nearly 2 weeks behind average. Fifteen percent of the crop has begun coloring, 12 days behind last year and 9 days behind average. Soybean condition rated 61 percent good to excellent.

The third cutting of alfalfa hay reached 76 percent, nearly 1 week behind average. Pasture condition declined from the previous week to 42 percent good to excellent. There were no livestock issues to report from this past week.


Continued cooler than normal temperatures across Minnesota have slowed crop development during the week ending September 8, 2019, according to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. There were 4.7 days suitable for fieldwork. Small grain harvest continued this week, but was slowed by scattered rains. Reports in and around central Minnesota indicated a prevalence of white mold in soybean fields.

Topsoil moisture condition was rated 0 percent very short, 10 percent short, 82 percent adequate and 8 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture condition was rated 0 percent very short, 7 percent short, 84 percent adequate and 9 percent surplus.

Ninety percent of the corn crop has reached the dough stage, falling to 14 days behind last year and 11 days behind the 5-year average. Corn dented was 42 percent, 2 weeks behind last year and 12 days behind normal. Corn harvested for silage reached 5 percent this week, 10 days behind normal. Corn condition was rated 55 percent good to excellent, unchanged from the previous week. Twentyone percent of soybeans were turning color, 11 days behind last year and 8 days behind average. Reports of some soybeans starting to drop leaves were received this week. Soybean condition rated 59 percent good to excellent, a slight improvement from the previous week.

Spring wheat harvested reached 78 percent, 9 days behind average. Ninety-four percent of oats have been harvested, 3 days behind normal. Ninety-seven percent of the barley crop has been harvested.

Dry edible beans dropping leaves reached 68 percent this week, 1 day ahead of average. Dry edible beans harvested reached 5 percent this week, 1 week behind normal. Dry edible beans condition rated 68 percent good to excellent, improving slightly from the previous week. Sunflower condition rated 78 percent good to excellent. Potatoes harvested reached 19 percent, 10 days behind average. Potato condition rated 93 percent good to excellent. Sugarbeet harvest was 8 percent complete this week, 5 days ahead of average. Sugarbeet condition was rated 83 percent good to excellent, improving from the previous week.

Pasture condition rated 62 percent good to excellent, declining from the previous week.

NASS Soil Moisture Conditions in Iowa & Minnesota as of September 8, 2019



Percent of Moisture
Very Short
Iowa  North-Central Top Soil
20 71
Sub Soil 7 20 73 0
Northeast Top Soil 5 29 65 1
Sub Soil 4 21 74 1
Minnesota State Top Soil 0 10 82 8
Sub Soil4 0 7 84 9


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 September 10, low fire danger was reported across northeast Iowa and southeast Minnesota.

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 September 12 through September 17, temperatures will average near- to above-normal and precipitation will average near- to below-normal.   During this time frame, the daily average temperatures range from 58 to 63 degrees and the normal precipitation is around 7 tenths of an inch. 

Beyond this time frame, the 8 to 14-day forecast (September 18-24) from the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) calls for above-normal temperatures and precipitation.  During this time frame, the daily average temperatures range from 56 to 61 degrees and the normal precipitation is around 9 tenths of an inch. 

The CPC seasonal outlook from October through December has enhanced chances of above-normal temperatures and equal chances of wetter-, near-, and drier-than-normal precipitation for the Upper Mississippi River Valley.

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):

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 focal point at the NWS La Crosse is Jeff Boyne.

Other Contacts:

Local Agricultural Impacts:

State climate impacts: