August ends a dry month and season for Western Wisconsin

It’s hard to believe, but September is here and August is out the door. August started out on the cooler side as you can see below. This graphic from the National Weather Service shows high and low temperatures in relation to both normal and records for each day of the month. Much of the first half of the month was below normal for both high and low temperatures. Then things really started to heat up for the second half of the month. By the final week of the month we dealt with a long stretch of hot and very humid weather. By the end of the month, our average temperature ended up being above average despite the cooler start to August.

That steamy weather during the last week of August is all thanks to a large area of high pressure that has set up shop in the central United States. The jetstream is up to our north keeping us under the dome of hot and humid air. It’s also kept much of the Chippewa Valley dry. However, for folks up in northern Wisconsin the past few days have been very active with several rounds of rain and thunderstorms. This is thanks to what’s known as the “Ring of Fire”. On the edges of a big area of high pressure you get storms that develop and track across the same areas. Above is a typical set up. Northern Wisconsin was far enough north and away from the hottest air to see several rounds of thunderstorms. On a couple occasions, parts of northern Wisconsin picked up a good 1-4” of rain.

Unfortunately, the rains never made it far enough south to impact the Eau Claire and La Crosse area. Eau Claire only saw 1.09”, which is a whopping 3.38” below normal. La Crosse only saw 1.04” of rain making for the 8th driest August on record. The month’s deficit was 3.25” below normal.

August continued the dry trend for Western Wisconsin this summer with both cities running over four inches below normal for the months of June, July, and August. That was with a fairly wet June too. Unfortunately, the dry summer has brought a drought back to Western Wisconsin. The most recent drought status shows much of the viewing area in a moderate drought.

Hopefully, we can get some wet weather in September to ease this drought before it gets any worse.

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