National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Little Change in the Drought

Updated on Thursday, July 29, 2021
Next Scheduled Update:  Thursday, August 5, 2021

 

Summary:


From July 20 to July 27, rainfall totals were mainly less than a tenth of an inch south of Interstate 90, ranged from a tenth to 1 inch between Interstates 90 and 94, and ranged from 1 inch to nearly 3.50 inches north of Interstate 94.  The highest rainfall totals were found in Black River Falls WI (3.38 inches), Medford WI (3.27 inches), and just east of Owen WI (3.26 inches).  Typically the area receives around 0.9 inches during this time frame. While this rainfall was beneficial, it was not enough to improve the drought situation across much of the area.


U.S. Drought Monitor Summary:

In the July 27 release of the U.S. Drought Monitor, moderate (D1) to extreme (D3) drought was found across much of Minnesota. 

Moderate (D1) to severe (D2) drought: the northern half of Iowa, southern third of Wisconsin, and far northern Illinois.

Abnormally dry (D0) to moderate (D1) drought: west-central and northwest Wisconsin.

Abnormally dry (D0) conditions: southwest Iowa.

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

U.S. Drought Monitor for July 27, 2021 

State Drought Statistics

Iowa Drought Statistics

Minnesota drought statistics

Wisconsin Drought Statistics

Iowa

Minnesota

Wisconsin


Local Area Affected:

Moderate (D1) to Severe (D2) Drought in all or parts of:

  • Northeast Iowa:  Chickasaw, Fayette, Floyd, Mitchell counties.
  • Southeast Minnesota: Mower County.
  • Western Wisconsin:  Grant County.

Moderate (D1) Drought in all or parts of:

  • Northeast Iowa:  Clayton, Howard, and Winneshiek counties.
  • Southeast Minnesota:  Dodge County.

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

  • Northeast Iowa:  Allamakee County.
  • Southeast Minnesota:  Fillmore, Houston, Olmsted, and Wabasha counties.
  • Western Wisconsin:  Buffalo, Clark, Crawford, Jackson, Richland, and Trempealeau counties.

Abnormally Dry (D1) in all or parts of:

  • Southeast Minnesota:  Winona County.
  • Western Wisconsin:  Adams, Juneau, La Crosse, Monroe, and Vernon counties.
La Crosse WI CWA Latest Drought Information


State/Local Government Actions:

No known actions are taking place at this time.

Climatological Summary:

Growing Season:

  • From April 1 through July 27, 2021, precipitation deficits ranged from 2 to 10 inches in northeast Iowa, from 3 to 8 inches in southeast Minnesota, and up to 10 inches in western Wisconsin (highest deficits in Grant County). 
  • From April 1 through July 27, 2021, Rochester International Airport has received 9.50 inches of precipitation. This was 7.11 inches below the 1991-2020 normal (16.61 inches). This was the 15th driest and the driest since 2007 (9.53 inches - 12th driest). The driest occurred in 1910 (4.01 inches).

Calendar Year:

  • From January 1 through July 27, 2021, precipitation deficits ranged from 3 to 12 inches in northeast Iowa, from 3 to 10 inches in southeast Minnesota, and up to 12 inches in western Wisconsin (highest deficits in Grant County). 
  • Through July 27, Rochester International Airport received 13.93 inches of precipitation. This was 6.99 inches below the 1991-2020 normal (20.92 inches). This year was the 22nd driest and the driest since 1988 (10.36 inches - 4th driest). The driest occurred in 1910 (5.71 inches).

Water Year:

  • From October 1, 2020, through July 27, 2021, precipitation deficits ranged from 4 to 13 inches in northeast Iowa, from 3 to 12 inches in southeast Minnesota, and up to 12 inches in western Wisconsin (highest deficits in Grant County). 
  • Rochester International Airport has received 18.05 inches of precipitation. This was 7.51 inches below the 1991-2020 normal (25.56 inches). This was the 20th driest and the driest since 1989 (17.07 inches - 14th driest). The driest occurred in 1964 (11.57 inches).

The maps below show precipitation deficits and surpluses for the growing season, year, and the 2020-21 water year (began on October 1). 

Precipitation deficits April 1 to July 27, 2021 Precipitation deficits January 1 to July 27, 2021 Precipitation deficits October 1, 2020 to July 27, 2021
Growing Year Deficits 2021 Deficits Water-Year Deficits


Due to these short and long-term precipitation deficits, moderate (D1) to severe (D2) drought covers 56.03% of the La Crosse Hydrologic Service Area (HSA), and another 29.1% is abnormally dry (D0).

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 website:

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://drought.rcc-acis.org/

 

River and Stream Flow Conditions:

As of the morning of July 27, the river and stream flow ranged from much-below to much-above in southeast Minnesota.  The lowest flow was along the south fork of the Zumbro River at Rochester, MN.  Its stage was 2.83 feet which was 19% of normal (8th percentile) for this date.  Meanwhile, the river and stream flow ranged from below- to near-normal in northeast Iowa and from below normal to much above normal in western Wisconsin.

were below- to near-normal in southeast Minnesota, near normal in northeast Iowa, and from near- to above-normal in 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 which are at or near record flows can be found at:

 

Agricultural Impacts:

The following reports came from the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service for the week ending on July 18, 2021.

Iowa:

Hot, dry conditions and minimal rain allowed Iowa farmers 6.4 days suitable for fieldwork during the week. Field activities included applying fungicides and insecticides and harvesting hay and oats.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 14% very short, 39% short, 46% adequate, and 1% surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 20% very short, 40% short, 39% adequate, and 1% surplus. The shortage of moisture was especially evident in northwest Iowa, where topsoil was rated 70% short to very short and subsoil was rated 84% short to very short. In some parts of the State, creeks have gone dry due to lack of rain.

The lack of precipitation is causing some stress on crops, especially in the northern third of the State. Corn silking or beyond reached 80%, equal to the 5-year average. Corn in the dough stage reached 21%, three days ahead of normal. Iowa’s corn condition was rated 65% good to excellent. There were scattered reports of corn in the dent stage. Eighty-five percent of soybeans were blooming, 6 days ahead of the five-year average. Over half of Iowa’s soybeans were setting pods, also 6 days ahead of normal. Soybean condition was rated 61% good to excellent. Oats coloring or beyond reached 94%, two days ahead of normal. Forty-eight percent of oats for grain have been harvested, 1 day ahead of the 5-year average. Iowa’s oat condition rated 64% good to excellent.

The second cutting of alfalfa hay reached 83% complete. The third cutting was reported at 8% complete, equal to the 5-year average. Hay condition rated 60% good to excellent. Pasture condition was rated 44% good to excellent. High temperatures and humidity are impacting livestock and some producers are still fighting pinkeye in cows and calves.

Minnesota:

Dry, humid, and hot conditions prevailed and provided farmers with 6.4 days suitable for fieldwork during the week. Reports indicated that crop conditions remained unchanged or decreased. Field activities for the week included mowing ditches.

Topsoil moisture supplies were rated 37% very short, 44% short, 19% adequate, and 0% surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies were rated 32% very short, 48% short, 20% adequate, and 0% surplus. 

Corn silking reached 90%, one day ahead of last year and 9 days ahead of the average. Corn in the dough stage or beyond was at 11%, two days behind last year but 3 days ahead of the average. Corn condition was at 38% good to excellent. Soybeans blooming reached 92%, four days ahead of last year and over a week ahead of average. Soybean setting pods was 52%, five days ahead of the average. Soybean condition declined to 36% good to excellent, compared to the previous week’s 43%.

Spring wheat coloring reached 95%, over a week ahead of last year and the 5-year average. Spring wheat condition declined to 9% good to excellent, compared to the previous week’s 15%.

Oats were at 90% coloring and 25% harvested. Oat condition declined to 22% good to excellent, compared to the previous week’s 23%. Barley was 90% coloring. Barley condition decreased to 15% good to excellent, compared to the previous week’s 20%. 

Potatoes condition was 61% good to excellent. Dry beans were 90% blooming and 63% setting pods. Dry bean condition declined to 26% good to excellent, compared to the previous week’s 30%.

Sunflower condition was rated 36% good to excellent, same as last week. Sugarbeet condition was 71% good to excellent. 

The second cutting of alfalfa hay was 80% complete. 

Pasture condition was 25% very poor, 41% poor, 25% fair, 7% good and 2% excellent.

Wisconsin:

Continued warm, dry conditions allowed Wisconsin farmers 6.2 days suitable for fieldwork during the week. Temperatures were seasonal this week with some timely rain events in the northern half of the state. Reported field activities include haying, harvesting winter wheat, and harvesting processing vegetables.

Topsoil moisture condition declined to 10% very short, 23% short, 63% adequate, and 4% surplus. Subsoil moisture condition also declined to 11% very short, 24% short, 60% adequate, and 5% surplus.

Corn is reported 69% silking, 4 days ahead of last year and 6 days ahead of the 5-year average. Corn is 5% in the dough stage, 2 days behind last year but 3 days ahead of the average. Corn condition declined to 75% good to excellent, 1 percentage point below last week.

Soybeans are reported 78% blooming, 2 days behind last year but 6 days ahead of the average. The soybean crop was 47% setting pods, 1 day behind last year but 6 days ahead of the average. Soybean condition remained at 72% good to excellent.

Oats are reported 83% coloring, 1 day behind last year but 5 days ahead of average. Oats are 15% harvested, 3 days ahead of both last year and the average. Oat condition improved to 74% good to excellent, two percentage points above last week.

Potato harvest is reported as 5% complete. Potato condition is rated 96% good to excellent, 1 percentage point above last week. 

Winter wheat is reported 62% harvested for grain, 8 days ahead of last year and 9 days ahead of the average. The final winter wheat condition of the season was 77% good to excellent statewide, 2 percentage points below last week.

The second cutting of alfalfa hay is 92% complete, 8 days ahead of last year and one week ahead of the average. The third cutting is 25% complete, 4 days ahead of last year and 3 days ahead of the average. All hay condition was rated 70% good to excellent, 1 percentage point below last week.

Pasture condition was rated 60% good to excellent, 2 percentage points below last week. 

NASS Soil Moisture Conditions in Northeast Iowa, Southeast Minnesota,
& Western Wisconsin as of July 25, 2021
State
Region
Soil
Percent of Moisture
Very Short
Short
Adequate
Surplus
Iowa  North-Central Top Soil 14 47 39 0
Sub Soil 18 41 41 0
Northeast Top Soil 5 52 43 0
Sub Soil 5 54 41 0
Minnesota  State Top Soil 37 44 19 0
Sub Soil 32 48 20 0
Wisconsin  Southwest Top Soil 18 10 72 0
Sub Soil 19 10 71 0
West-Central Top Soil 7 49 44 0
Sub Soil 11 50 39 0
Central Top Soil 0 22 69 9
Sub Soil 0 18 70 12
North-Central Top Soil 3 5 92 0
Sub Soil 3 8 89 0

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 July 27, moderate (fires start easily and spread at a moderate rate) fire danger was reported in southeast Minnesota and south of Interstate 90 in Wisconsin.  There was low (fires are not easily started) fire danger reported in northeast Iowa, and along and north of Interstate 90 in Wisconsin. 

NOTE: This is time-sensitive and conditions could change 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 July 29 to August 3, both temperatures and precipitation will average below normal.  During this time frame, daily average temperatures range from 59 to 64 degrees, and the normal precipitation is around 8 tenths of an inch. 

Beyond this time frame, the 8 to 14-day forecast (August 4-10) from the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) calls for enhanced chances for above-normal temperatures and near-normal precipitation.  The daily average temperatures for this period range from 69 to 74 degrees and the normal precipitation is around 9 tenths of an inch. 

For August, the Climate Prediction Center has tilted the odds slightly toward warmer-than-normal across the Upper Mississippi River Valley.  Meanwhile, the precipitation outlook is for equal chances of wetter-, near-, and drier-than-normal.

From September through November, the Climate Prediction Center has tilted the odds slightly toward warmer- and drier- than normal across the Upper Mississippi River Valley.  

Below are the seasonal outlooks for the next year.

Seasonal Temperature Outlooks

Precipitation Outlooks

Temperatures

Precipitation

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:

E-mail: nws.lacrosse@noaa.gov
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: