Heavy rain in forecast

Soggy week to continue

Wet? You bet, and as if September hasn’t been wet enough already, another round of significant rainfall is poised to fall on the Minot region.

“There will be more dry time than wet time Wednesday for Minot, but closer to midnight it’ll pick up with more steady to moderate rain through the day Thursday,” said Ken Simosko, National Weather Service meteorologist in Bismarck. “The total should be one and one-half to two inches of rain. It’ll taper off around daybreak on Friday. That’s the main push.”

The NWS is so confident in their outlook that they say Minot’s chance of precipitation Wednesday night is 100%. They also list Thursday’s chance of rain at 90%.

“We are just in an active pattern coming off the Pacific,” said Simosko. “It’s quite a punch.”

The expected rainfall will work its way into North Dakota from neighboring Montana where the NWS in Glasgow issued a Flood Watch early Tuesday, warning people to be aware that another round of heavy rain will fall on saturated soil and bring high flows to creeks and streams.

“Rising creeks, streams and rivers will block some roadways. Gravel roads will become nearly impassable” in northeast Montana said the NWS.

Just inside the North Dakota border, Williston area residents have experienced recent downpours and changing weather conditions. Rainfall measured thus far in September in that community has already surpassed the monthly record. As of Tuesday Williston had officially received 3.82 inches of rain this month. The previous record for September of 3.74 inches was set in 1959.

Williston’s record precipitation total for September is expected to rise quite a bit higher this week. According to the NWS, the Williston area is likely to see an additional two inches or more of rain by Friday. Last Saturday Williston was deluged with 2.32 inches of rain, easily breaking the record for the date of 1.23 inches set in 2013.

Minot’s rainfall totals continue to climb as well, both for the month and the year. The 114-year average rainfall for September in Minot is 1.46 inches. On Sept. 2, Labor Day, Minot received 1.42 inches of rain, a record for the date. As of Tuesday morning the rainfall mark this month for Minot, as recorded at the International Airport, was 2.53 inches. While that mark is well above average, Minot’s wettest September occurred in 1971 when 6.11 inches of precipitation was recorded.

The yearly precipitation total for Minot through Tuesday morning was listed at 14.14 inches at the airport, a quarter inch more than the long-term average for the date. At the North Central Research and Extension Center immediately south of the city the precipitation total for the same period was 13.65 inches, .87 inches less than the long-term average of 14.52 inches at that location.

The rain puts a damper on many outdoor activities, including farming. Crop producers in the midst of harvest have seen their operations come to a halt due to the wet conditions. Jeff Kittel, manager of the Plaza-Makoti Equity Elevator, told the Minot Daily News that “It is a long, drawn out harvest which is well behind normal.”

Kittel estimated that 40-45% of the wheat in the Plaza-Makoti area was still standing while farmers wait for a break in the weather to get back into the fields.

“Some of the guys have taken their wheat off wet and trying to dry it down,” said Kittel. “It’s not a good deal for them.”

The wait for better weather conditions may not be too far away. According to Simosko, there’s some relief from the wet weather after this latest round of expected precipitation moves out of the region.

“After this one comes through, Friday should start to dry out,” said Simosko. “The weekend looks dry.”

The 8-14 day weather outlook issued by the Climate Prediction Center calls for a “above normal” chance of precipitation for North Dakota through Sept. 23. However, said Simosko, there’s some other news in the outlook as well.

“Precipitation-wise it is slightly above,” said Simosko in reaction to the 8-14 day outlook. “But it’ll be warming up and then continue above normal.”