National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Still Abnormally Dry in Parts of the Area

Updated on Thursday, December 14, 2017

Next Scheduled Update on Thursday, January 18, 2018

Daily Monitoring of Drought Impacts & Outlooks


From November 28th through December 12th, up to a third of an inch fell across northeast Iowa and anywhere from a half to three-quarters of an inch in north-central Wisconsin.  Since the normal precipitation for this time period was around a two-thirds of an inch, there was a slight increase in the precipitation deficits (anywhere from 1.7 to 4 inches) which have developed since August 1st. 

At this time, the only places in the La Crosse Hydrologic Service Area to remain abnormally dry (D0) are eastern Taylor County in north-central Wisconsin and in Chickasaw and Floyd counties in northeast Iowa.

U.S. Drought Monitor Summary:

In the December 12th release of the U.S. Drought Monitor, moderate (D1drought was found in parts of north-central Minnesota, south-central and southeast Iowa, and southwest Illinois.

Abnormally dry (D0conditions were found in parts of north-central Wisconsin, southwest Minnesota, northwest and northeast Iowa, and northwest Illinois.

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

U.S. Drought Monitor for December 12, 2017 

State Drought Statistics

Iowa Drought Statistics

Minnesota drought statistics

Wisconsin Drought Statistics




Local Area Affected:

Abnormally dry (D0) conditions remain across eastern Taylor County in north-central and central Wisconsin and in Chickasaw and Floyd counties in northeast Iowa.

State/Local Government Actions:

No known actions are taking place at this time.

Climatological Summary:

From August 1st through December 12th precipitation deficits range from 1.7 to 4 inches across parts of north-central Wisconsin.  Due to this, abnormally dry (D0) conditions exist across Floyd and Chickasaw counties in northeast Iowa and eastern Taylor County in north-central Wisconsin.  Here is a map of the precipitation deficits from August 1 through December 12, 2017.

Wisconsin rainfall deficits August 1 through December 12, 2017.

The following tables show the precipitation totals and deficits from August 1 through December 12, 2017.

North-Central Wisconsin

Rain Total
(Aug 1-Dec 12)
from Normal
Merrill (Lincoln County) 9.99" -4.00"
Eau Pleine Rsvr (Marathon County) 10.60" -3.12"
Medford (Taylor County) 10.83" -3.86"
Wausau WSAW TV (Marathon County) 11.05" -3.02"
Wausau ASOS (Marathon County) 11.09" -2.49"
Rice Rsvr Tomahawk 2 (Lincoln County) 12.37" -1.17"


Northeast Iowa

Rain Total
(Aug 1-Dec 12)
from Normal
Charles City (Floyd County) 10.33" -1.90"



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 December 12th, the Black River in north-central and west-central Wisconsin was running near normal. 

Listed below are some current (December 12th) river and stream flows versus in cubic feet per second (cfs) compared to percentiles of historical daily stream flow for the day of the year.  These are for selected rivers and streams in our service area with long periods (over 30 years) of record as measured by the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

USGS River Flow Values as of December 12, 2017
Percentile of historical daily stream flow for the date listed above
Black Black River Falls, WI
Ice Affected
Neillsville, WI*
Ice Affected
* These sites have current stage and even forecast out to 90 days can be viewed at the National Weather Service's Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service (AHPS) Web Page.

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 December 12th, there was low fire danger across north-central Wisconsin and northeast Iowa.

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 December 14th through December 19th, temperatures will average warmer-than-normal and precipitation will average below-normal.  During this time frame, the daily average temperatures range from 16 to 21 degrees and the normal precipitation is around a quarter of an inch. 

Beyond this time frame the 8 to 14 day forecast (December 20th through December 26th) from the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) calls for below-normal temperatures and above-normal precipitation.  During this time frame, the daily average temperatures range from 14 to 19 degrees and the normal precipitation is around 3 tenths of an inch. 

The CPC seasonal outlook for January through March 2018 has enhanced chances of colder- and wetter-than-normal 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: