National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

May Rains Ends Dryness

Updated on Thursday, May 10, 2018

Daily Monitoring of Drought Impacts & Outlooks



From May 1 to May 8, rainfall ranged from 1.25 inches (Cuba City in Lafayette County) to 6 inches (Readstown in Vernon County) rain fell across southwest Wisconsin. With the normal precipitation around an inch, the precipitation deficits alleviated the abnormally dry (D0) conditions across Grant and Richland counties in southwest Wisconsin. 


U.S. Drought Monitor Summary:

In the May 8th release of the U.S. Drought Monitor, moderate (D1) drought was found in a small portion of north-central Minnesota and southeast and south-central Iowa.

Abnormally dry (D0) were found in southwest Iowa, a small portion of north-central Wisconsin, and parts of western Iowa.

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

U.S. Drought Monitor for May 8, 2018 

State Drought Statistics

Iowa Drought Statistics

Minnesota drought statistics

Wisconsin Drought Statistics




Local Area Affected:

The abnormally dry (D0) conditions have ended across Grant and Richland counties in southwest Wisconsin.
La Crosse WI CWA Latest Drought Information

State/Local Government Actions:

No known actions are taking place at this time.

Climatological Summary:

From April 1 through May 1, 2018, precipitation deficits were up to 2.25" in Lafayette County in southwest Wisconsin.  Elsewhere in southwest Wisconsin, the May rains have caused precipitation surpluses up to 5.50".  This alleviated the abnormally dry (D0) conditions across Grant and Richland counties.  Here is a map of the precipitation deficits during this time period.

Wisconsin rainfall deficits April 1 through May 8, 2018.

The following tables show the precipitation totals and deficits from April 1 through May 1, 2018.

Southwest Wisconsin

Rain Total
(April 1 to
to May 8, 2018)
from Normal
Argyle (Lafayette County) 2.36" -2.27"
Cuba City (Lafayette County) 2.60" -1.98"
Darlington (Lafayette County) 2.50" -2.16"
Lancaster 4WSW (Grant County) 4.07" -0.63"
Steuben 4SE (Crawford County) 4.56" -0.21"
Prairie du Chien (Crawford County) 5.90" +1.00"
Ontario 3E (Vernon County) 5.92" +1.43"
Lynxville Dam 9 (Crawford County) 7.47" +2.89"
Dodgeville (Iowa County) 7.53" +2.81"
Sauk City WWTP (Sauk County) 7.76" +3.10"
Westby 3ENE (Vernon County) 8.55" +4.02"
Baraboo (Sauk County) 8.91" +4.23"
Reedsburg (Sauk County) 9.43" +4.98"
Genoa Dam 8 (Vernon County) 9.56" +5.03"
La Farge (Vernon County 9.74" +5.09"
Viroqua (Vernon County) 10.28" +5.59"


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 May 8, the rivers in western Wisconsin were running near- to above-normal.  There was minor flooding occurring along parts of the Mississippi and Kickapoo rivers. 

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:

Fire Danger Hazards:

As of the morning of May 8, moderate fire danger was reported across southern Wisconsin and very high across the remainder of 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 May 10 through May 14, temperatures will average colder-than-normal and precipitation will average above-normal.  During this time frame, the daily average temperatures range from 54 to 59 degrees and the normal precipitation is around a half inch. 

Beyond this time frame the 8 to 14-day forecast (May 15-21) from the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) calls for an enhanced chance of above-normal temperatures and below-normal precipitation.  During this time frame, the daily average temperatures range from 55 to 60 degrees and the normal precipitation is around 8 tenths of an inch. 

The CPC seasonal outlook for the 2018 meteorological summer (June 1-August 31) 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



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: