NWS: It Hasn’t Been This Dry Since 2013

Northwest Iowa — It may seem like it hasn’t been this dry for a while. If that’s how it feels, you’re not wrong.

According to the National Weather Service’s Sioux Falls Forecast Office, for the first time since 2013, the Sioux Falls and surrounding areas have been designated in the “extreme” drought category — as designated by the US Drought Monitor. The US Drought Monitor is a map released every week, showing parts of the U.S. that are in drought. The map uses five classifications: abnormally dry (D0), showing areas that may be going into or are coming out of drought, and four levels of drought: moderate (D1), severe (D2), extreme (D3) and exceptional (D4).

The Drought Monitor has been a team effort since its inception in 1999, produced jointly by the National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC) at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The Weather Service says that year-to-date precipitation in Sioux Falls ranks as the 5th driest on record. In Sheldon, we’ve only recorded less than 16 and a half inches of rain so far this year. Normal is about eight more inches than that at a little less than 24 and a half inches.

The forecast for the next week doesn’t look much better. After an early chance of precip this week, the rest of the week looks dry. The six-to-ten day forecast is much the same, predicting below-normal precipitation.

Most of northwest Iowa started the growing season with ample moisture, and now the growing season is done, but we’re going to need enough moisture for 2021’s crop too.


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