Some farmers and ranchers can breathe a slight sigh of relief, as a multitude of areas in the region received a significant amount of rainfall — a welcomed change compared to the drought and dry weather that has been plaguing the region’s soil this season.
However, some areas in the Upper Midwest went from one extreme to another; going from excessive dryness, to now having standing water in their fields.
An Instagram post from Julie Nordling shows standing water in her fields. Nordling reported that so far, her area of Marshall County, Minnesota, has received 6.22 inches of precipitation in a matter of hours. She captioned her photos, “Well...we went from drought to flood in a matter of hours and it’s still raining, 6.22 so far. It can stop!”
As reported by the National Weather Service, the areas of Devils Lake, N.D., and Lakota, N.D., are classified as major flooding areas. However, though these particular areas have been reported to have excess rainfall, that does not mean their area is in the clear from the region’s drought.
“Though that area that received 6 inches may be seeing flood impacts at this point, this most likely will not change the contributors that have been playing into the area’s drought," Allen Schlag, National Weather Service hydrologist. “If we were to only look at precipitation in that area, a person would think that the drought is over. But the reality is that the impacts and the after effects of being in a drought for so long really do weigh in just as much as the precipitation totals.”
“For us here in North Dakota, we are kind of expecting a wide spread half inch of water across a good portion of the state,” Schlag said. “One person might get an inch of moisture and five miles away, somebody’s going to get a tenth of an inch of moisture.”
The central and western part of North Dakota and Montana have been hit the hardest in terms of drought in the passing months. In the Bismarck area, soil moisture is despairingly low. Part of Burleigh County was moved into exceptional drought on May 18.
“Despite even the precipitation over the past week, the category has increased now due to the magnitude of soil moisture deficit and increasingly low river and stream flows,” said Rick Krolak with the National Weather Service. “That’s going to increase the impact to agriculture as we enter the growing season.”
Krolak is hopeful that the future forecast will entail some precipitation in the Bismarck area.
“We got a little bit of rain a few hours ago, but we still have some more in the forecast,” Krolak said.