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Jenny Schlecht/Agweek

Weather Talk: Drought likely to worsen before it improves

The region continues to sink further into a drought. Severe drought in western and central North Dakota has garnered the attention of the national news media.

Across southeastern North Dakota and west-central Minnesota, conditions vary from very dry to somewhat dry, depending on the timeliness or lack of timeliness of the most recent rainfall. Through Monday, Fargo’s Hector Airport had received only 4.14 inches of rain since May 1. This is less than half the average amount for this period of 8.34 inches.

Summer drought is an accumulation of deficit. As a dry summer progresses, drought tends to worsen in terms of agriculture as crops grow and require more water. Meanwhile, sporadic rainfall tends to be overwhelmed by evaporation rates in the sunny second half of summer.

It is always possible for the weather pattern to change and for widespread rains to return. But it is more likely that this staccato rainfall pattern will continue and the drought will worsen before it gets better. 

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