Drought worsens in Wisconsin, improves for some Minnesotans

Thursday’s report from the U.S. Drought Monitor expanded areas experiencing severe, extreme, and exceptional drought in northwest Wisconsin. Parts of northern Minnesota saw improvements since the previous report.

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

This week’s report reflected improvement for some, unchanging conditions for many, and worsening conditions for others.

The area of exceptional drought (D4) over portions of northern Douglas County and northern Bayfield County expanded further into these counties.

The area of extreme drought (D3) also extended a bit further south. It reaches from eastern Carlton County to Ashland. Portions of Washburn County into western Sawyer County remained in D3. However, the area of extreme drought that had been over parts of Crow Wing County and Aitkin County improved.

Severe drought (D2) remains in place for much of east central Minnesota, in Duluth, and up the North Shore near Two Harbors. Severe drought expanded to fill out the majority of northwest Wisconsin that is not in higher categories.

Moderate drought (D1) is widespread generally north of U.S. Hwy 2 in Minnesota. The northern edge of Koochiching, St. Louis, Lake, and Cook counties reflected improvement out of moderate drought into abnormally dry conditions (D0).

Locally heavy rainfall did bring benefits to northwest Wisconsin on Wednesday with parts of the South Shore in the worst of the drought reporting 1-2″, and that round is not reflected in this update.

Unfortunately, a dry forecast overall looks to allow drought conditions to persist and continue to worsen in the week ahead.