Drastic improvement for Upper Midwest drought status

A very dry fall, winter and even early spring plunged much of the Midwest into at least abnormally dry conditions if not a full fledged drought. For the longest time Western Wisconsin was just abnormally dry. However, just over the border, Minnesota was under a moderate drought with portions of the state and into Iowa under a severe drought.

Just last month, the moderate drought crept across the Mississippi River impacting Pierce, Pepin, Buffalo, Trempealeau and northern portions of La Crosse county. Here's the drought status at the beginning of the month of May. You can easily see how expansive the drought situation was across the Upper Midwest.

Things would change drastically after this. The pattern became very wet with a slow moving trough that draped a fairly stationary boundary across the areas. We had severe complex of storms develop and dump impressive rainfall amounts across the area. Seven of the first eight days of the month saw precipitation with half of those days seeing rainfall totals well over a quarter of an inch. Andrew has a great blog entry on the soggy start to May with more information. You can find it on the Weather Notebook main page. So far this month we have seen 2.59" of rain. Below is a look at estimated rainfall totals from April 30th to May 7th.

We picked up a good chunk of rain here in Western Wisconsin, but the most rainfall fell where it was needed the most in portions of Minnesota and Iowa that were under the severe drought. All that rain has made a big difference. Below is a look at the drought status as of May 8th.

Notice the severe drought is gone! Also, the moderate drought has shrunk greatly and is out of Western Wisconsin. Most of Western Wisconsin is normal when it comes to drought status. Only some isolated patches of abnormally dry conditions along the Mississippi where we had the moderate drought and up well to the north.

We have been dry the past several days and look to be dry for most of this upcoming week. We'll have to see how this impacts the next drought status. However, rain chances will go up later this week into this weekend.


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