Rain to suppress drought conditions in North Dakota
Friday, August 11, 2017, 12:14 - The latest U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM) map shows 94 per cent of North Dakota in some stage of drought, and while it isn’t expected to improve, wet weather this weekend will help prevent it from getting any worse.
Most of central and western parts of the state remain in what’s considered an ‘Extreme’ or ‘Exceptional’ drought , impacting more than 425,000 residents. Exceptional drought –or D4 – is the USDM’s highest level on the drought intensity scale. It corresponds to an area experiencing exceptional and widespread crop and pasture losses, fire risk, and water shortages that result in water emergencies.
Recent rain has improved a small area of drought in the south-central part of the state, but abnormally dry conditions still expand in eastern North Dakota.
Earlier this week, Gov. Doug Burgum asked for a presidential disaster declaration because of severe drought conditions across the state, the Associated Press reported.
The governor’s request to President Donald Trump was made through the regional Federal Emergency Management Agency. It would activate individual and direct federal assistance programs.
Rainfall this weekend into next week
Showers and a risk for thunderstorms are forecast Friday into Saturday. The main rain chances Friday will begin in western parts of the state before spreading east.
Click play to watch below: Rainfall track and timing
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The Storm Prediction Center has put a marginal risk for severe weather in the far southwest corner of the state, and could see the potential for a few stronger storms in that region Friday afternoon and evening.
Rain will continue into Saturday, with a slight risk of severe thunderstorms possible across the southwest and south-central parts of the state, according to the National Weather Service.
A few showers could linger into Sunday morning towards the southern James River Valley, but most of the forecast area should dry out as ridge builds in from Montana.
However, the ridge is forecast to quickly break down and move east with southwesterly flow taking hold early next week. This will bring more chances of rain to parts of the state, especially for the first half of the week.
Whether or not all this rain brings significant relief to the exceptional drought remains to be seen. Be sure to check back for updates as we continue to monitor this developing system.