National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Some More Improvements in the Drought Situation

Updated on Thursday, January 12, 2023
Next Scheduled Update:  Thursday, February 16, 2023



From 7 AM on December 27 through 7 AM on January 10, precipitation totals ranged from 0.31 inches at Boscobel Airport to 1.45 inches at Rochester International Airport. This precipitation along with what has fallen since November 1, 2022, has ended the moderate (D1) to severe (D2) drought across Buffalo County in west-central Wisconsin, and the moderate (D1) drought in Wabasha County in southeast Minnesota. In addition, it alleviated the abnormally dry (D0) conditions in southwest Wisconsin.

While there was an improvement in the dryness in the La Crosse Hydrologic Service Area (HSA), abnormally dry (D0) conditions still remain in parts of southeast Minnesota and west-central Wisconsin; and abnormally dry (D0to moderate (D1) drought in northeast Iowa.

U.S. Drought Monitor Summary:

In the January 10 release of the U.S. Drought Monitormoderate (D1) to exceptional (D4) drought continued in northwest Iowa.

Abnormally dry (D0) to severe (D2) drought was found in southwest and southeast Iowa, and southwest Minnesota

Abnormally dry (D0) conditions to moderate (D1) drought were found in north-central Iowa; northwest and east-central Minnesota; and a small part of west-central Wisconsin.

Abnormally dry (D0) conditions were found in southeast Wisconsin and northern Illinois.

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

U.S. Drought Monitor for January 10, 2023 

State Drought Statistics

Iowa Drought Statistics

Minnesota drought statistics

Wisconsin Drought Statistics




Local Area Affected:

Abnormally Dry (D0) to Moderate (D1) Drought in all or parts of:

  • Northeast Iowa: Chickasaw, Floyd, and Mitchell counties.

Abnormally Dry (D0) in all or parts of:

  • Northeast Iowa: Clayton, Fayette, Howard, and Winneshiek counties.
  • Southeast Minnesota:  Dodge, Fillmore, Mower, Olmsted, Wabasha, and Winona counties.
  • Western Wisconsin: Buffalo, Jackson, and Trempealeau counties.

La Crosse WI CWA Latest Drought Information
State/Local Government Actions:

No known actions are taking place at this time.

Climatological Summary:

Precipitation Departures since November 1, 2022:

  • Precipitation surpluses from November 1, 2022, through January 10, 2023, were up to 4 inches across western Wisconsin and up to 2 inches in northeast Iowa and southeast Minnesota.
  • These precipitation surpluses ended the moderate (D1drought in Wabasha County in southeast Minnesota and the moderate (D1) to severe (D2) drought in northern Buffalo County in west-central Wisconsin. In addition, it alleviated the abnormally dry (D0) conditions in southwest Wisconsin.
Precipitation Departures from November 1, 2022, to January 10, 2023.


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 be found at:

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 the length of periods without rain, temperature data, and more.  Click on the link below to gain access to this tool.


River and Stream Flow Conditions:

As of the morning of January 12, the river and stream flow were near normal in northeast Iowa and southeast Minnesota, and western Wisconsin.

NOTE: This is time-sensitive and conditions could change.  Updated river and streamflow conditions can be found via links to the right.

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 that are at or near record flows can be found at:


Agricultural Impacts:

The next USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service report for Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin will be issued on April 3, 2023.

NASS Soil Moisture Conditions in Northeast Iowa, Southeast Minnesota, & Western Wisconsin as of January 10, 2023
Percent of Moisture
Very Short
Iowa  North-Central Top Soil NA NA NA NA
Sub Soil NA NA NA NA
Northeast Top Soil NA NA NA NA
Sub Soil NA NA NA NA
Minnesota  State Top Soil NA NA NA NA
Sub Soil NA NA NA NA
Wisconsin  Southwest Top Soil NA NA NA NA
Sub Soil NA NA NA NA
West-Central Top Soil NA NA NA NA
Sub Soil NA NA NA NA
Central Top Soil NA NA NA NA
Sub Soil NA NA NA NA
North-Central Top Soil NA NA NA NA
Sub Soil NA NA NA NA

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 January 12, there was a low (fires are not easily started fire danger) fire danger in northeast Iowa, southeast Minnesota, and western Wisconsin.

NOTE: This is time-sensitive and conditions could change from day to day. Fire conditions can change drastically on drier, windy days.  Updated DNR fire conditions can be found via links to the right.

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 January 12 through January 18, it will be warmer than normal with near-normal precipitation. During this time frame, daily average temperatures range from 14 to 19°F, and precipitation averages around 3-tenths of an inch.

Beyond this time frame, the 8 to 14-day forecast (January 19-25) from the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) is calling for enhanced chances for above-normal temperatures and precipitation. The daily average temperatures for this period range from 13 to 18°F and the normal precipitation is around 3-tenths of an inch.

From February through April, the Climate Prediction Center has equal chances of warmer-, near-, and colder-than-normal for the Upper Mississippi River Valley. As far as precipitation, the odds are tilted toward wetter-than-normal.  Seasonal temperatures typically average from 26 to 36°F and precipitation ranges from 5.5 to 8 inches.

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: