Severe drought continues to spread in the Northland

With below-normal rainfall again this week, drought conditions have continued to worsen in the Northland.

This week’s U.S. Drought Monitor Update shows an expansion of severe drought conditions for Itasca, Pine, and Burnett Counties. Washburn County saw an increased area of extreme drought. The Iron Range and areas north have shown no change in this update.

The USDM is a joint effort by National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It is updated on Thursday mornings with data from observations made at 7 a.m. CST on Tuesdays.

Drought intensity is measured in increments from D0 to D4:

  • D0 = Abnormally Dry
  • D1 = Moderate Drought
  • D2 = Severe Drought
  • D3 = Extreme Drought
  • D4 = Exceptional Drought

The past few months have been drier than normal, and August has continued the trend. Ashland is in extreme drought (D-3) and has had only 1.43″ of rain this month as of August 23. This is a 1.19″ deficit. Duluth has had around the same amount, measuring 1.42″ with severe drought (D-2) conditions.

Hibbing has moderate drought (D-1) and 1.03″ of rain so far this month. This is a deficit of 1.22″. International Falls, as well as the rest of the area close to the international border, has fared better and is still considered abnormally dry (D-0). International Falls has had 1.83″ of rain so far in August, just 0.23″ below-normal.

There is rain in the forecast this upcoming week, but it will take several rounds of decent rain for conditions to improve.