Drought Check after Wet Start to Spring

Posted at: 04/21/2013 9:17 PM
Updated at: 05/28/2013 12:50 PM
By: Justin Thompson-Gee

Everywhere I go it seems people are complaining about the cold
and wet MN Drought Monitor August 23, 2011pattern we have been stuck in this “spring”, but complaints are always accompanied with this addendum: “we need the moisture”. And yes we do need the moisture, especially after a very dry summer, fall and winter in 2012. But, just how bad is the drought right now? Let’s take a look at some numbers.

We officially entered a drought in August 2011 according to the US Drought Monitor.  Although, we had a wet April and May in 2012 it wasn’t enough to bump us out of the drought all together and a very dry June through November only worsened the effects.

Since August 2011, southeast Minnesota has a cumulative precipitation deficit of exactly 10” as of April 19th. Plenty of moisture this spring has helped the drought come back from a 16.77” deficit at the end of November 2012. Since January 1st we have received 9.78” of precipitation which is 4.18” above average. Most of this has fallen during March and April. In fact, since April began we have already received 4.93” of precipitation which is 3.02” above average.

The recent precipitation surplus we have seen over the past few months begs the question: what is the current drought status? The newest Drought Monitor released on April 16th shows most of southeast Minnesota in Abnormally Dry to Severe Drought status. The drought worsens from east to west with Fillmore County listed as Abnormally Dry and Freeborn County in Severe Drought.

In summary, southeast Minnesota still needs a few more months of precipitation surplus before we can include “we don’t even need the moisture!” at the end of our complaints.

Storm Tracker 6 Meteorologist

Justin Thompson-Gee