While the Northern Plains has seen some relief in the way of rain, WDAY Meteorologist John Wheeler says the drought is "in no means over."
Drought conditions remain severe, extreme or even exceptional in areas of the Upper Midwest. North Dakota continues to be stricken by D3 and D4 drought conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Nearly half of the state is in an extreme drought rating with nearly one-fifth in an exceptional drought rating.
While conditions continue to worsen in areas, overall the drought is less dire in the High Plains region of the Drought Monitor (North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Wyoming) than three months ago.
Extreme and exceptional drought ratings are similar to that of three months ago in that region, but severe drought conditions are down nearly 12 points at 17.65%, and moderate drought conditions are down nearly five points at 16.23%. Abnormally dry conditions are 13.31% today for the region, compared to 21.81% three months ago. All of that totals to 35.36% of the acres not experiencing drought conditions, compared to just 12.36% three months ago.
Wheeler said drought conditions in the region, and particularly in North Dakota, were at their worst in late May and early June. Now, rains have "at least moistened up the top soil" in many places.
But in places like north central Iowa through Minnesota's Twin Cities, the soil moisture has gotten worse. Plus, while a cooler pattern is settling in for the rest of June, July is expected to be hot and dry.
"Your lawn may be a little green, your row crops, your wheat crop may have greened up a little bit and gotten a little healthier, but we still have a deep moisture profile problem," Wheeler said. "And that means that if we hit another dry patch, you're going to need moisture very quickly."
Here is a state-by-state look at this week’s drought monitor:
Iowa: Iowa’s drought conditions have worsened significantly over the last several weeks. Three months ago, nearly 60% of the state was drought-free. Today, just 5.37% of the state is not experiencing drought conditions. Severe drought, the state’s highest rating, spiked this week, up to 40.82% from 9.76%. Moderate drought registered at 35.22% with abnormally dry conditions at 18.59%.
Minnesota: Minnesota’s moderate drought rating increased from 1.81% last week to 5.07%. Moderate drought also increased from 44.39% to 53.80%. Abnormally dry conditions came in at 44.30%. 100% of the state is experiencing at least some degree of drought.
Montana: Montana’s overall rating were relatively unchanged. Extreme drought came in at 10.55% with severe drought at 22.16%. Moderate drought was at 26.19% with abnormally dry at 30.86%. 10.25% of the state is not experiencing any drought conditions.
Nebraska: Nebraska’s drought conditions worsened slightly for the second week in a row. Relative to the rest of the region, however, Nebraska is still fairing well. Severe drought came in at 1.91%, unchanged from last week. Moderate drought increased slightly to 10.12% from 6.84%. Abnormally dry acres increased to 43.96% from 35.97%. Acres not experiencing drought conditions decreased from to 44.01% from 55.28%.
North Dakota: North Dakota was relatively unchanged from last week. Exceptional drought remained at 17.68% with extreme drought down slightly at 46.82%. Severe drought came in at 28.96% with moderate drought at 6.54%.
South Dakota: Extreme drought, the worst rating seen in the state of South Dakota, increased slightly from last week. The D3 rating is now at 7.18%, up from 4.24%. 49.44% is in severe drought with 30.27% in a moderate drought. 10.77% is abnormally dry with just 2.34% of the state not experiencing any drought conditions.
Wisconsin: Wisconsin has entered into the extreme drought rating for the first time this year. Albeit small, a portion of the southeast corner of the state (0.81% of the state’s acres) is rated in the D3 category. 8.03% is in severe drought, while moderate drought conditions jumped to 46.69% this week, up from 29.17%. Abnormally dry conditions are at 26.31% with acres not experiencing drought conditions unchanged at 18.16%.