LINCOLN, Neb. (Civic Media) – Warm, dry weather conditions in Wisconsin are producing drought across over a quarter of the state.
The U.S. Drought Monitor released Thursday showed that 25.34% of the state was in moderate drought, while 88.71% of the state was abnormally dry.
Moderate drought conditions are mostly in the southern two-thirds of Wisconsin. Most of Polk County, as well as parts of neighboring Burnett, Barron, Dunn and St. Croix counties, are also in moderate drought.
Nearly the entire state is experiencing abnormally dry conditions, with pockets of central, northern, and eastern Wisconsin not listed on the drought monitor.
Drought conditions expanded to a quarter of the state from only a fraction of a percent a week ago, according to the Drought Monitor. In addition, abnormally dry conditions expanded from about two-thirds of the state to nearly 90%.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture said that unusually warm temperatures east of the Mississippi River combined with increasing deficits in precipitation and lower stream flows were drying out soil across most of Wisconsin. Because of those conditions, the Drought Monitor greatly expanded drought and dry conditions to its report this week. Most of the Midwest is experiencing the same issue during a crucial part of the crop-growing season.
Short-term impacts to agriculture and grasslands are expected for the northwestern quarter of Wisconsin, an area that is roughly north of Highway 29 and west of the Wisconsin River. These impacts typically last fewer than six months, according to the USDA.
The USDA said that historically, abnormally dry conditions lead to lower water levels, burn bans, yellow or brown lawns, an increase in irrigation, outdoor water bans in some municipalities, and crops that are stressed, especially during growing season. Moderate drought impacts typically include higher hay prices and increased sales of livestock.
The National Weather Service shows above-average temperatures and below-normal precipitation is expected for Wisconsin over the next six to 10 days. The Climate Prediction Center at the NWS shows soil moisture below normal in nearly all of Wisconsin, with seasonal levels far below normal in the southern two-thirds of the state.