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Drought conditions 'likely to get worse' as heat spreads into the region in July

North Dakota and much of the Upper Midwest has experienced not only extremely dry conditions but very warm temperatures as well.

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Parts of the western United States could see temperatures as much as 30 degrees above normal in the next week, WDAY meteorologist John Wheeler says.

That extreme heat also will spread into the Northern Plains after the Fourth of July. And while the system might lose a little of its heat before it gets here, it'll still be far warmer than usual.

With that in mind, the drought is 'likely to get worse over the next couple of weeks," Wheeler said.

"Given the fact that it's going to be really hot in much of the Northern Plains, we're going to lose ground against the drought," Wheeler said.

The eastern half of North Dakota received some much-welcomed precipitation last week. According to the North Dakota Agricultural Weather Network, much of the eastern North Dakota received anywhere from four-tenths of an inch to a full inch of rain.


While the precipitation was a nice boost for the area crops, it did little to alleviate the intense drought conditions that North Dakota is experiencing.

Wheeler said that areas of Iowa received the most beneficial rain last week.

Wednesday, June 23, was likely the hottest day the region will experience in the short term, according to the North Dakota State University Extension Crop & Pest Report. Upper-level winds in North Dakota and northwest Minnesota are expected to come from the north or northwest. This is expected to keep temperatures near seasonal averages for the next several days, the report noted.

In Minnesota, Wheeler said the drought has expanded substantially, specifically in the Highway 2 corridor in the northwest.

"The drought conditions have gotten worse in Minnesota, but it's nowhere near as severe as it is in North Dakota," he said.

Wheeler said the heat will move in during July, along with few chances for precipitation aside from some scattered storms. While it might not compare to the heat wave in the west, he said it will get "quite hot" all the way to Wisconsin.

The U.S. Drought Monitor map of North Dakota released on June 24, 2021, showed the drought conditions across the state as of June 22, 2021. (U.S. Drought Monitor)


Here is a state-by-state look at this week’s drought monitor:

Iowa : Like much of the region, Iowa’s drought totals were relatively unchanged from last week. 43.88% is in a severe drought with 32.38% in a moderate drought. 16.29% is abnormally dry with 7.54% of the state free of drought conditions.

Minnesota : Minnesota had another spike in its drought totals over the past week. 13.75% is in severe drought, up from 5.07% last week. 61% of the state is experiencing moderate drought conditions, up from 51.62% last week. 25.25% of acres are in the abnormally dry category.

Montana : Montana’s overall rating were relatively unchanged. Extreme drought came in at 10.55% with severe drought at 22.16%. Moderate drought was at 26.19% with abnormally dry at 30.86%. 10.25% of the state is not experiencing any drought conditions.

Nebraska : For the third week in a row, Nebraska’s drought worsened slightly. 0.94% of the state entered the extreme drought category, while severe drought conditions increased to 3.94%, up 2% from last week. Moderate drought came in at 13.3% with abnormally dry conditions at 49.52%. 32.31% of the state is not experiencing drought, down from 44.01% last week.

North Dakota : Despite seeing a rain event on the eastern side of the state, North Dakota totals were relatively unchanged from last week. Exceptional drought remained at 17.68% with extreme drought down slightly at 45.87%. Severe drought came in at 29.77% with moderate drought at 6.67%.

South Dakota : South Dakota had a slight increase in its extreme drought acres, increasing from 7.18% to 10.50%. Severe drought was also up slightly at 52.61%, up from 49.44% last week. Moderate drought came in at 27.06% with abnormally dry conditions at 8.34%. Just 1.49% of the state is not experiencing drought conditions.

Wisconsin : Drought conditions remained about the same for Wisconsin. 0.81% of the state remains in extreme drought, with 5.55% in severe drought. 44.91% is categorized in a moderate drought with 25.26% abnormally dry. 23.46% of the state is not experiencing drought conditions, up from 18.16% last week.

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