Exceptional drought, the most severe case of drought, has developed in North Dakota, and Montana. According to the National Centers for Environmental Information, the United States has gone 25 weeks without a case of exceptional drought until the U.S Drought Monitor released their data on July 18, 2017. During the Drought Monitor week, an upper-level ridge of high pressure covered the western United States. Rainfall was hindered and temperatures soared as the ridge sat over the west. Stations in the excessive drought area have reported little to no rainfall. Crops have taken a damaging hit from high temperatures and very little rainfall. Burn bans have been issued in several Tribes in eastern Montana and the Rocky Boys reservation has reported water shortages. Looking ahead, rain showers have moved across northern and central plains since the Drought Monitor was released. Above average monsoon rainfall is expected to continue over the southeast. Temperatures are expected to stay above normal for much of the United States over the week ahead.
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ⓒ 2017 Meteorologist Brandie Cantrell
DISCUSSION: Drought conditions in the high plains have gradually worsened over the course of the year. This includes the states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Wyoming, and Colorado. Severe and extreme drought has expanded across eastern Montana, south-central North Dakota and northwest South Dakota where dry and hot conditions have persisted. Many areas this past week across the Dakotas had temperatures climb well into the 90s, with many even reaching triple digits.
In northwestern South Dakota, the South Dakota State University Extension staff reported “poor pasture and range conditions as well as deteriorating crop conditions.” The lack of precipitation and extreme heat has wreaked havoc on farming. In Glasgow, Montana, the National Weather Service Office reported several dry precipitation records were broken for Glasgow; this includes the driest January through June since 1983 (2.75 inches). In Montana, only 52.28% of the land is currently not experiencing any kind of drought conditions (image above). In the high plains, only 53.49% of the region is currently not under any drought conditions.
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©2017 Meteorologist Nicholas Quaglieri