Drought lessens, warm weather expected

Eloise Ogden/MDN Even much improved conditions from lessening drought couldn’t save many local crops.
Submitted Photo North Dakota should experience warmer than usual temperatures through November, according to the Climate Prediction Center.
Submitted Photo Rainfall the past several days has done much to alleviate drought conditions in North Dakota. The red area on the map indicates extreme drought and the orange area severe drought.

It may seem like an odd combination – a reduction in the severity of drought and warmer than usual temperatures. But that’s exactly what is happening in North Dakota.

Rainfall this month, particularly in recent days, has done much to alleviate what the U.S. Drought Monitor categorized as “exceptional” drought in western North Dakota. The monitor says, “The precipitation helped ease some of the drought conditions that have persisted in the region for several months.”

Despite the much-needed rain, conditions remain dry over much of the western part of the state. The Drought Monitor says about half the state remains in either “severe” or “extreme” drought. The Minot region has received more than 2 1/4 inches of rain this month. That compares to less than a half inch in July.

While recent rainfall may have arrived too late to help many crops in the region, it was nevertheless welcome as an indicator that the worst of the drought may be coming to an end. Rainfall helped dormant pastures as well with some greening-up occurring in areas that were previously brown and lifeless.

Looking ahead, the 8-14 day forecast calls for above normal temperatures and a below normal chance of precipitation for nearly all of North Dakota. The three-month outlook covering September-November as issued by the Climate Prediction Center calls for an increased chance of warmer than normal temperatures for all of North Dakota during that period. Precipitation chances are listed as equal during the same time frame.