National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce
NWS La Crosse Drought Monitoring Page

Any drought related questions e-mail
Jeff Boyne


National Drought Situation:

 

The map below is from the U.S. Drought Monitor. It shows the latest drought conditions across the United States.

The latest drought situtation from the U.S. Drought Monitor

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. The data cutoff is Tuesdays at 6 AM Central Standard Time and the product is updated weekly on Thursdays at 7:30 AM Central Time.

For those needing to look at past U.S. Drought Monitors an archive is available back to May 20, 1999. This information can be found at the following link.


Local Drought Situation:

The maps below are compliments of the U.S. Drought Monitor and they show the current drought conditions across Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

Latest Iowa Drought Conditions
Latest Minnesota Drought Conditions
Latest Wisconsin Drought Conditions
Iowa
Minnesota
Wisconsin


La Crosse County Hydrologic Services Area (HSA)

  NWS La Crosse Hydrologic Service Area

 

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.


Climatological Summary:

Temperature Departures:

The images below are compliments of the Midwestern Regional Climate Center (MRCC), They provide specifics on where temperatures were above or below normal across Wisconsin, southeast Minnesota, and northeast Iowa during the past week and 30-days.

Average Temperature Departure during the past week
Temperature Departure during the Past 30 Days
Past Week
Past 30 Days

Precipitation Departures:

The images below are compliments of the Midwestern Regional Climate Center (MRCC), They provide specifics on where and it provides more specifics on where these precipitation deficits or surpluses exist across Wisconsin, southeast Minnesota, and northeast Iowa during the past 30, 90, and 180 days.

Precipitation during the past week
Number Days Without Measurable Precipitation
Percent of Normal Precipitation during the past week
Multi-Sensor
Precipitation Totals
during the past 7 Days
Number Days Without
Measurable Precipitation
Percent of Mean
during the Last 7 Days
Multi-Sensor Precipitation Totals during the past 30 days
30-Day Precipitation Deficits from Normal
Percent of Mean during the Past 30 Days
Multi-Sensor
Precipitation Totals

during the past 30 Days
30 Day Departures
from Normal
30 Day Percent of Mean
90-Day Precipitation
90-Day Precipitation Departures from Normal
Percent of Mean during the Past 90 Days
90 Day Precipitation
90 Day Departures from Normal
90 Day Percent of Mean
90-Day Precipitation 180-Day Precipitation Departures from Normal Percent of Mean during the Past 180 Days
180 Day Precipitation 180 Day Departures from Normal 180 Day Percent of Mean

Precipitation departures out to 180 days, year-to-date, and water-year-to-date (beginning on October 1st) can be obtained from the NWS Experimental Precipitation Analysis Web Page:

https://water.weather.gov/precip/

Snow depth, snow water equivalent, and other snow data can be obtained from the National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Interactive Snow Information Web Page:

https://www.nohrsc.noaa.gov
/interactive/html/map.html

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.

Entry to the drought xmACIS tool


Soil Moisture Conditions:

Soil moisture from the NLDAS Drought Monitor Soil Moisture.  The NLDAS experimental drought monitor is derived from near real-time soil moisture output from both the NASA MOSAIC and NCEP Noah land surface models. The anomalies and percentiles are based on a 28 year climatology (1980 - 2007). Two separate climatology files are used; one for the calculation of anomalies, and one for the calculation of percentiles. The anomaly climatology file contains 1 soil moisture value per day (daily average over 28 years) for each gridbox. The percentile climatology file contains 140 soil moisture values per day (5 for each year) for each gridbox. 

Anomalies are calculated by comparing the current soil moisture values to mean values for the same time of year over each gridbox. For weekly anomalies, the past week's worth of soil moisture values are first averaged together to form a single value. The same procedure is applied to the corresponding week of the anomaly climatology file. The two values are then differenced to derive an anomaly soil moisture value. A similar procedure is followed to compute monthly (30 day) anomalies. 

Percentiles are based upon an 5 day moving window of soil moisture values. This acts to smooth out the soil moisture record. Weekly analyses for each gridbox are computed by comparing the past 7 days to corresponding period in the percentile climatology. Taking day 1 of the week as an example, hourly soil moisture values from this day are averaged together to form a single value. This value is then ranked against the soil moisture values from each day of the 5 day window surrounding day 1 of the corresponding week in the percentile climatology. This same process is then repeated for days 2-7 of the week, with each day of the week contributing equally to the overall ranking value. Monthly (30 day) percentile analyses are computed in a similar fashion. 

 
Ensemble Mean - Current Total Soil Moisture Anomaly

Additional information about soil moisture conditions
can be found either at the
Midwestern Regional Climate Center (MRCC) at:

https://mcc.sws.uiuc.edu/
cliwatch/drought/moisture.htm

or at the NWS Climate Prediction Center (CPC) Web Site at:

https://www.cpc.noaa.gov/
soilmst/w.shtml

Ensemble Mean - Current Total Soil Moisture Anomaly  
NOAH LSM Output MOSAIC LSM Output  
NOAH LSM Output MOSAIC LSM Output  
SAC LSM Output VIC LSM Output  
SAC LSM Output  VIC LSM Output  

Ground Water Impacts:

The USGS maintains a network of wells to monitor the effects of droughts and other climate variability on ground-water levels. The network consists of a national network of about 140 wells monitored as part of the Ground-Water Resources Program, supplemented by wells in some States monitored as part of the Cooperative Water Program. For a list of network wells, click on a State on the image below.

USGS Ground-Water Climate Response Network

USGS Ground-Water Climate Response Network

The USGS image below shows the latest ground water level just west of Tomah, Wisconsin (Monroe County).

Latest ground water level just west of Tomah, Wisconsin (Monroe County)

 The lowest water level on record was 8.62 feet below the ground level on October 7, 1987. The highest water level on record was 0.48 feet below ground level on September 29, 1965. The period of record extends from October 1949 through the present.

The USGS image below shows how this value compares historically.

The graph shows how this value compares to history at Tomah, WI

Additional information about ground levels can be found either at the USGS Ground-Water Climate Response Network at:

https://groundwaterwatch.usgs.gov/
Net/OGWNetwork.asp?ncd=rtn

 


River and Stream Flow Conditions:

The maps below depict streamflow conditions as computed at USGS gaging stations. The colors represent real-time streamflow compared to percentiles of historical daily streamflow for the day of the year. Only stations having at least 30 years of record are used.

Map of real-time streamflow compared to historical streamflow for the day of the year (Iowa)
Iowa
 
Map of real-time streamflow compared to historical streamflow for the day of the year (Minnesota)
Map of real-time streamflow compared to historical streamflow for the day of the year (Wisconsin)
 
Minnesota
Wisconsin

The data used to produce the maps above are provisional and have not been reviewed or edited. They may be subject to significant change. Maps containing no dots indicate locations where flow data for the current day are temporarily unavailable. During winter months, some states (or parts of states) may have fewer dots than at other times of the year due to ice effects.

Hourly and forecast river stages out to 90 days can be found at the National Weather Service's (NWS) Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service (AHPS) web page:

https://water.weather.gov/ahps2/
index.php?wfo=arx

Additional Current stream and river stages may be viewed at the following USGS Web Site:

https://waterwatch.usgs.gov/


Fire Danger Hazards:

Minnesota:

Minnesota Fire Danger Rating
Minnesota Current Burning Restrictions
Fire Danger Rating
Current Burning Restrictions

Wisconsin: https://dnr.wi.gov/forestry/Fire/Fire_Danger/Wis_Burn/StateCounties.asp

Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI):

This is a drought index that is specifically related to fire potential. The KBDI is broken into four categories which indicate the susceptibility of ground fuels to fire danger. The table in the right hand column indicate what the categories mean.

A national map of the latest Keetch-Byram Drought Index

Dead Fuel Moisture:

Dead fuel moisture responds solely to ambient environmental conditions and is critical in determining fire potential. Dead fuel moistures are classed by timelag. A fuel's timelag is proportional to its diameter and is loosely defined as the time it takes a fuel particle to reach 2/3's of its way to equilibrium with its local environment. Dead fuels in NFDRS fall into four classes (1-hour, 10-hour, 100-hour, and 1000-hour); however, when looking at droughts usually only the 100-hour and 1000-hour fuel moisture are watched.

100-hour Dead Fuel Moisture: Measured from fuels which are 1 to 3" in diameter.Computed from 24-hour average boundary condition composed of day length, hours of rain, and daily temperature/humidity ranges.

A national map of the latest Keetch-Byram Drought Index

1000-hour Dead Fuel Moisture: Measured from fuels which are 3 to 8" diameter. Computed from a 7-day average boundary condition composed of day length, hours of rain, and daily temperature/humidity ranges.

A national map of the latest Keetch-Byram Drought Index

For updated DNR Fire Conditions consult the following Web Sites:

In Minnesota:

https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/
forestry/fire/firerating_restrictions.html

In Wisconsin:
https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/forestfire/restrictions.html

The Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI) is a drought index that is specifically related to fire potential. The KBDI 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 (KBDI)
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

From the Wildland Fire Assessment System, one can get Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI) and Dead Fuel Moisture data.


Agriculture Impacts:

For additional information on agriculture impacts may be viewed at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service NASS Web Site.


Precipitation/Temperature Outlooks:

This section contains the 8-14 day, monthly, and 3-month temperature and precipitation outlooks.

8-14 Day Outlook:

8 to 14 Day Temperature Outlook
8 to 14 Day Precipitation Outlook
Temperature
Precipitation

Monthly Outlook: (These are updated on the third Thursday of each month)

Monthly Temperature Outlook
Monthly Precipitation Outlook
Temperature
Precipitation
A narrative is also available at the following link.

3-Month (Seasonal)Outlook: (These are updated on the third Thursday of each month)

3-Month (Seasonal)Temperature Outlook
3-Month (Seasonal) Precipitation Outlook
Temperature
Precipitation

A narrative is also available at the following link.

Sesonal Outlooks for the upcoming year:    (These are updated on the third Thursday of each month)

 

 

Temperature outlooks for the upcoming year

Precipitation outlooks for the upcoming year

Temperature

Precipitation

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

8 to 14 Day Outlook:

http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/
products/predictions/814day/

Monthly Outlook:

http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov
/products/predictions/30day/

Seasonal Outlook:

http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/
products/predictions/long_range/
seasonal.php?lead=01h


Questions or Comments:

If you have any questions or comments about this drought information please contact:

Jeffrey Boyne
Climate Services Focal Point
National Weather Service
N2788 County Road FA
La Crosse, WI 54601-3038

Telephone: 608-784-8275
E-mail: Jeff.Boyne@noaa.gov