Drought conditions persist for one-quarter of Wisconsin
LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) - As of June 1, one-quarter of Wisconsin is experiencing some form of drought.
According to the latest drought monitor provided by the United States Department of Agriculture, approximately 25% of the state is experiencing at least moderate drought conditions, including at least part of 30 of the state’s 72 counties. Included in that total is 5% of the state, including at least parts of nine counties in southeastern Wisconsin, currently experiencing severe drought conditions.
A moderate drought indicates dry or very dry topsoil. A severe drought indicates that pasture and crop losses are likely if conditions persist, and water restrictions have historically been enacted due to water shortages.
The regions most impacted include the afore-mentioned southeastern Wisconsin counties currently under severe drought. Moderate drought counties form the letter “U” from western Wisconsin, dipping to southern Wisconsin and back up eastern Wisconsin. This “U” starts just north of La Crosse, extends south of Madison, and comes back up east of Lake Winnebago to Manitowoc.
According to the United States Drought Monitor operated by the United States Dept. of Agriculture and by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, parts of Minnesota, Iowa, and Illinois are also experiencing severe drought. In the Dakotas and Montana, the drought is in the extreme category, while central North Dakota is experiencing exceptional drought, the highest level on the drought monitor scale.
Abnormally dry conditions are being experienced by much of the state as well, as about a quarter of the state falls under that category. This includes cities such as Eau Claire, Fond du Lac, and Wisconsin Dells, and counties that are primarily located in west-central Wisconsin.
Some of the historic impacts of the dry conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, include bans on burning, brown lawns and fields, lower lake levels than normal, an increase in watering landscaping and gardens, and slight impacts to pastures and crops.
At the moderate drought stage, hay prices historically begin to rise, and horse sales begin to increase. Severe drought impacts include the loss of crops and pastures, as well as water restrictions and shortages.
Conditions have not changed much in the past week.
The USDA estimates the affected population in Wisconsin in drought areas to be over 3.4 million, with over 20.7 million in the Midwest currently in a drought area. Conditions in most the nation’s southwest are worse, currently in exceptional or extreme drought.
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