Drought intensifies, 70% of North Dakota classified ‘D3 extreme’

The drought monitor report released April 8 for March 30 to April 6, indicated intensifying drought in the Dakotas. Kentucky, Missouri, and Tennessee are still reporting no drought stress at all.

In the No. 1 corn-growing state, drought conditions were unchanged from the previous week. A small amount of precipitation was recorded in the northern half of Iowa but, it wasn’t enough to put a dent in the extreme drought conditions stretching across Sioux, O’Brien, and Clay counties. About 6% of the state is suffering from severe drought.

Iowa precipitation map from March 30 to April 6
Photo credit: Iowa Environmental Mesonet

In conjunction with the April 5 Crop Progress Report, Iowa State Climatologist Justin Glisan noted topsoil and subsoil moisture levels across the Hawkeye state. “Topsoil moisture levels rated 8% very short, 25% short, 64% adequate and 3% surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 12% very short, 29% short, 56% adequate and 3% surplus,” he reported.

Across the Mississippi River, in Illinois, drought expanded slightly. Lake and McHenry counties in the extreme northeastern corner of the state reported moderate drought conditions. About 17% of the state recorded abnormally dry conditions. Less than an inch of rain was recorded across the state between March 30 and April 6, according to the Iowa Environmental Mesonet.

Drought conditions in Nebraska were unchanged. Severe drought still covers 7% of the state and is focused in the southwest region. The entire western half of the Cornhusker state is abnormally dry or worse. Less than an inch of rain was recorded across the state between March 30 and April 6, according to the Iowa Environmental Mesonet.

The first report of extreme drought in Minnesota came from Kittson county in the extreme northwest part of the state. Severe drought in the northwest and southwest parts of the state expanded to cover about 3% of the state’s acres. More than 30% of the state reported suffering from moderate drought.

Conditions in Kansas were unchanged from the previous week’s drought monitor report. Severe drought continues in Cheyenne, Rawlins, Hamilton, Stanton, and Morton counties. About 22% of the state is abnormally dry, or worse. All drought stress is isolated to the western third of the state.

Drought conditions in South Dakota continued to intensify quickly. On April 6, 15% of the state was suffering from extreme drought, a jump of about 7% since the week prior. About 79% of state’s acres are classified D1 moderate drought, or worse.

South Dakota drought map
Photo credit: U.S. Drought Monitor

The April 5 Crop Progress Report indicated South Dakota topsoil moisture levels rated 25% very short, 43% short, 32% adequate and 0% surplus. Subsoil moisture levels are rated 25% very short, 48% short, 27% adequate, and 0% surplus.

Ohio’s drought conditions were nearly identical to the week prior. About 16% of the state reported moderate drought conditions. The southern two-thirds of the state reported no drought conditions.

For the third week in a row, Missouri reported no drought conditions.

The April 5 Crop Progress Report indicated Missouri topsoil moisture levels rated 0% very short, 3% short, 92% adequate, and 5% surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 0% very short, 5% short, 90% adequate, and 5% surplus.

Drought conditions in southeast Wisconsin intensified slightly, now rated moderate in Racine and Kenosha counties. About 90% of the state is abnormally dry.

Across the Great Lakes in Michigan, drought conditions continued to be relatively unchanged. Moderate drought conditions in the south continue to consume about 17% of the state’s acres.

For the sixth straight week, Kentucky reported no drought conditions.

The April 5 Crop Progress Report indicated Kentucky topsoil moisture levels rated 2% very short, 1% short, 71% adequate, and 26% surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 2% very short, 2% short, 73% adequate, and 23% surplus.

Extreme drought increased to cover about 70% of the state of North Dakota, a jump of 23% in a week’s time. Almost the entire state is suffering from severe drought or worse this spring.

The most recent Crop Progress Report indicated North Dakota topsoil moisture levels rated 59% very short, 33% short, 8% adequate, and 0% surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 52% very short, 30% short, 18% adequate, and 0% surplus.

Map of North Dakota drought conditions
Photo credit: U.S. Drought Monitor

Carie Marshall-Moore farms with her family near Rock Lake, North Dakota, in Towner county. Although it’s a bit early for fieldwork, the drought is weighing heavily on farmers and ranchers’ minds. A rancher Marhsall-Moore works with lost an entire hayfield to fire last weekend.

“The biggest dilemma we have is applying anhydrous. We don’t want to work up the ground and lose any moisture we do have. Anhydrous is water loving, so if there is no water molecules for it to cling to it isn’t practical financially to even put it down. We’re in major limbo right now hoping for rain in the next two weeks before we have to make real decisions and get into the field,” she says.

In Texas, exceptional drought conditions cover about 9% of the state. Abnormally dry, or worse conditions cover about 91% of the Lone Star State.

For the second week in a row, Tennessee reported no drought conditions.

Similar to the week prior, moderate drought covers about 9% of Pennsylvania in the northwest corner of the state. About 76% of the state is free of drought stress.

There was no change to drought conditions in Colorado where exceptional drought covers about 15% of the state. The entire state is abnormally dry, or worse.
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