South Shore experiencing extreme drought conditions

With another dry week, most of the Northland has had drought conditions worsen with Thursday’s update of the U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM).

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 most notable change with this week’s update can be seen along the South Shore portions of Douglas and Bayfield Counties. This area is now in D-3, Extreme Drought.

The rest of the South Shore is still in severe drought, including Duluth. The Zenith City had improved last week, going from severe to moderate drought. With 0.07″ of rain from July 11 to 18, Duluth’s conditions worsened back to severe.

The northwest portion of St. Louis County also saw worsening conditions. Hibbing went from D-0, abnormally dry conditions, to D-1, moderate drought conditions. That said, Wednesday’s rainfall set a daily record for Hibbing at 2.31″.

Since the U.S. Drought Monitor is updated based on conditions as of Tuesday morning, this week’s update does not show Wednesday’s rain. We should see improvements in the Hibbing area with next week’s update. The South Shore received less than an inch of rain Wednesday, so improvement is not expected for that area.

Normal precipitation in the Northland this time of year is 0.8-1.3 inches every week. Although rain is in the forecast for Saturday afternoon, the Storm Track Weather Team is not expecting enough precipitation to help with the ongoing drought conditions.