The dry weather this summer is creating big problems for parts of state, and it may only be getting worse. On July 9th, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker declared a state of emergency in 42 southern Wisconsin counties due to drought or abnormally dry conditions. This declaration covers a number of local counties, including Adams, Buffalo, Clark, Crawford, Grant, Jackson, Juneau, La Crosse, Monroe, Richland, Trempealeau, and Vernon. This declaration allows for speeding up of permits for farmers to temporarily use stream or lake water for irrigation. Governor Walker encourages farmers to report crop conditions to their local U.S. Farm Service Agency office. This information can be used for Governor Walker to request a federal disaster declaration, which could make low-cost emergency loans and other assistance available.
Below is a picture showing how much precipitation has fallen during July 3rd through July 10th. Great example of the dry weather southern parts of the state have been dealing with this summer.
Burning bans remain in effect for Fayette and Clayton counties in northeast Iowa; and Adams, Crawford, Grant, Juneau, La Crosse, Monroe, Richland, Trempealeau, and Vernon counties in western Wisconsin. Under the restrictions, outdoor burning is prohibited. The ban includes:
• Burning piles, or barrels
• Campfires (exception: campgrounds with metal fire rings)
• Outdoor disposal of ashes, charcoal, matches or other burning materials
• Smoking cigarettes, cigars outdoors
On July 7th, La Crescent, MN has started water restrictions. Residents with even number addresses can water on even number days. Meanwhile residents with odd number addresses can water on odd number days.
With temperatures ranging from 5 to 13 degrees above normal since the start of July, it was another week of enhanced evaporation rates (around 1.80 inches) across northeast Iowa, southeast Minnesota, and the southern half of Wisconsin. This has resulted in a moderate (D1) to severe (D2) drought developing along and south of the Interstate 90 corridor.
These drought conditions have:
• Damaged some crops (corn, soybeans, and fruit) - This was especially the case on sandy soils.
• Stopped pastures from growing
• Lowered river flows (the flows were less than 20 percent of normal along the Black, Cedar, La Crosse, Lemonweir, Little Cedar, Root, Turkey, Upper Iowa, Yellow in Wisconsin, Wisconsin, and Zumbro South Fork.)
• Caused ground water levels to fall (some places in south-central and southeast Wisconsin have seen their wells dry up)
• Elevated the fire danger (high to very high across southern Wisconsin)
• Caused burning bans (northeast Iowa and the southern half of Wisconsin) and water restrictions to be put in place
Here is a closer look at the drought in our southern counties.
A severe drought (D2) has developed across Grant County in southwest Wisconsin.
A moderate (D1) to severe drought (D2) has developed across Clayton and Fayette counties in northeast Iowa; and Crawford and Richland counties in southwest Wisconsin.
A moderate drought (D1) has redeveloped across all or parts of Fillmore, Houston, Mower, Olmsted, and Winona counties in southeast Minnesota; Allamakee, Chickasaw, Floyd, Howard, Mitchell, and Winneshiek counties in northeast Iowa; and Adams, Buffalo, Juneau, La Crosse, Monroe, Trempealeau, and Vernon counties in western Wisconsin.
Abnormally dry (D0) conditions exist across all or parts of Wabasha County in southeast Minnesota, and Clark and Jackson counties in western Wisconsin.
Below is a link to the current fire danger in Wisconsin. It's from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
WISCONSIN FIRE DANGER