National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Dryness Continues in Some Parts of Northeast Iowa & Southeast Minnesota

Updated on Thursday, November 26, 2020
Next Scheduled Update:  Thursday, December 17, 2020



From November 10 to November 24, precipitation totals ranged from 0.65 inches at Fayette, IA (Fayette County) to 2.92 inches at Guttenberg Lock and Dam 10 IA (Clayton County)  With precipitation deficits since July 1 in the 3 to 5-inch range, abnormally dry (D0) conditions are found across parts of southeast Minnesota and northeast Iowa.  Meanwhile, the precipitation anomalies are less than 3 inches in west-central Wisconsin.  Due to this, the abnormally dry (D0) conditions were removed from west-central Wisconsin.   

November 10-24, 2020 Precipitation Totals

U.S. Drought Monitor Summary:

In the November 24 release of the U.S. Drought Monitor, abnormally dry (D0) to extreme (D3) drought was seen across the western third of Iowa. 

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

Abnormally dry (D0) conditions were seen in central, east-central, and southeast Minnesota; 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 24, 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:  Chickasaw, Fayette, Floyd, Howard, Mitchell, and Winneshiek counties.
  • Southeast Minnesota:  Fillmore, Houston, Mower, and Wabasha 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, 3 to 5-inch precipitation deficits have developed across northeast Iowa and southeast Minnesota.  Due to these rainfall deficits, abnormally dry (D0) conditions continue.

Here is a map of the precipitation deficits & surpluses from July 1 to November 24, 2020. 

Precipitation deficits July 1 through November 24, 2020

The following tables show the precipitation totals and deficits from July 1 through November 24, 2020.

Northeast Iowa, Southeast Minnesota, & Western Wisconsin
Precipitation Deficits & Surpluses
Northeast Iowa County Rain Total
(July 1 to
November 24, 2020)
from Normal
Osage Mitchell 9.53" -6.91"
Charles City Floyd 11.48" -4.64"
Ionia 2 W Chickasaw 12.57" -4.05"
Decorah Winneshiek 12.83" -3.57"
Oelwein 1E Fayette 12.89" -6.07"
St. Ansgar Mitchell 13.05" -3.49"
Fayette Fayette 13.32" -4.42"
Elkader 6 SSW Clayton 17.71" +1.36"
Strawberry Point Clayton 18.33" +0.69"
Guttenberg L & D 10 Clayton 20.40" +4.69"
Southeast Minnesota County Rain Total
(July 1 to
November 24, 2020)
from Normal
Lake City Wabasha 11.07" -5.08"
Minnesota City Dam 5 Winona 11.30" -5.17"
Theilman 1SSW Wabasha 11.45" -5.58"
Altura 5W Winona 12.03" -5.28"
Austin WWTF Mower 12.28" -4.23"
Wabasha Wabasha 12.63" -4.84"
Elgin 2SSW Olmsted 12.83" -4.16"
La Crescent Dam 7 Winona 12.98" -4.43"
Winona Dam 5A Winona 13.00" -3.41"
Preston Fillmore 13.14" -3.90"
Rochester International Airport Olmsted 14.83" -1.49"
Caledonia   Houston 14.88" -2.87"
Rochester AP 2 NE Olmsted 16.15" -0.83"
West-Central &
Southwest Wisconsin
County Rain Total
(July 1 to
November 24, 2020)
from Normal
La Crosse Municipal Airport La Crosse 13.25" -2.65"
Alma Dam 4 Buffalo 13.30" -5.07"
La Crosse 4 NNW La Crosse 13.60" -2.92"
Genoa Dam 8 Vernon 14.47" -3.01"
La Crosse NWS La Crosse 14.54" -2.66"
Trempealeau Dam 6 Trempealeau 14.80" -1.87"
Neillsville 3ESE Clark 14.85" -2.36"
Sparta Monroe 15.07" -1.42"
Owen 1E Clark 15.49" -1.74"
La Farge Vernon 15.58" -2.17"
Medford Taylor 15.67" -2.01"
Viroqua Vernon 15.93" -1.30"
Steuben 4 SE Crawford 16.02" -0.28"
Mather 3 NW Jackson 16.87" +0.39"
Prairie du Chien Crawford 17.21" +1.38"
Friendship Adams 19.42" +2.38"
Necedah 5 WNW Juneau 19.45" +3.43"
Lancaster 4 WSW Grant 21.73" +5.48"
Mauston 1 SE Juneau 24.31" +8.49"


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 24, the river and stream flows were near-normal in northeast Iowa, near- to above-normal in southeast Minnesota, and above-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 November 22, 2020.


Dry conditions and warmer temperatures allowed Iowa farmers 6.3 days suitable for fieldwork. This included harvesting corn for grain, baling corn stalks, applying fertilizer and manure, and hauling grain to elevators. Farmers in some areas of the State continue to clean up debris from the derecho that blew through in August.

Topsoil moisture condition rated 13% very short, 31% short, 56% adequate and 0% surplus. Subsoil moisture condition rated 22% very short, 35% short, 43% adequate and 0% surplus. 

No problems with livestock were reported. Livestock producers continue to allow cattle to graze on corn stalks. Some producers are providing supplemental feed for cattle on pastures.


Cool, but warmer than normal temperatures along with dry conditions allowed Minnesota farmers to nearly complete the corn harvest. There were 4.7 days suitable for fieldwork. An estimated 99% of the corn acreage has been harvested statewide. The University of Minnesota’s Soil, Water, and Climate department reported the recent moderation in temperature looks to prevail through the Thanksgiving holiday until the end of the month. As such, it is likely that November 2020 will end up falling among the 20 warmest Novembers in state history, quite a remarkable turnaround from last month, when we recorded one of the coldest Octobers in history. Field activities included ditch maintenance and tiling projects, manure and fertilizer application, fall tillage and harvesting corn for grain.

The cool, dry weather decreased both topsoil and subsoil moisture supplies statewide. Topsoil moisture condition rated 2% very short, 10% short, 83% adequate and 5% surplus. Subsoil moisture condition rated 4% very short, 14% short, 77% adequate and 5% surplus.


Wisconsin had 5.6 days suitable for fieldwork for the week. Sunny, windy conditions this week helped many farmers finish fieldwork for the season. Temperatures were slightly above normal with daytime highs rising into the 50s and 60s during a midweek warm spell. In a few areas of northern Wisconsin, this meant snowmelt and mud, but much of the state had favorable soil moistures for bringing in the last of the corn. Fall tillage and manure spreading continued well ahead of schedule. Reporters commented that many farmers used this week’s good weather to winterize and store their equipment.

Topsoil moisture condition rated 2% very short, 11% short, 76% adequate and 11% surplus. Subsoil moisture condition rated 2% very short, 11% short, 77% adequate and 10% surplus.

NASS Soil Moisture Conditions in Northeast Iowa, Southeast Minnesota,
& Western Wisconsin as of November 22, 2020
Percent of Moisture
Very Short
Iowa  North-Central Top Soil 9 20 71 0
Sub Soil 15 37 48 0
Northeast Top Soil 4 8 87 1
Sub Soil 2 8 89 1
Minnesota  State Top Soil 2 10 83 5
Sub Soil 4 14 77 5
Wisconsin  Southwest Top Soil 0 11 84 5
Sub Soil 0 11 88 1
West-Central Top Soil 2 22 73 3
Sub Soil 3 32 64 1
Central Top Soil 0 1 77 22
Sub Soil 0 2 81 17

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 24, 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 26 to December 1, temperatures will average near- to above-normal.  During this time frame, the daily average temperatures range from 24 to 29 degrees, and the normal precipitation is around 4 tenths of an inch. 

Beyond this time frame, the 8 to 14-day forecast (December 2-8) from the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) calls for enhanced chances for above-normal temperatures and below-normal precipitation.  During this time frame, the daily average temperatures range from 20 to 25 degrees, and the normal precipitation is around 4 tenths of an inch. 

The CPC seasonal outlook from December 2020 through February 2021 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: