Meager rains Wednesday night not enough to slow expanding drought

No doubt it has been dry around here. Many areas saw just a third of their average precipitation through the month of March and almost as little since the year began January 1st. This is leading to excessively dry conditions across much of the area, and the region for that matter with moderate drought conditions expanding across the Dakotas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois. If we finish April as dry as March, then we are looking at a severe situation heading into the spring bloom season, where very little blooming may occur… after all April showers bring May flowers.

Here is the current drought situation across the state…


And yes, the rain that we saw Wednesday night was helpful, but unfortunately it just wasn't widespread enough OR slow enough. To get REAL drought relief you need long slow rainfalls, allowing most that falls to soak into the ground. When you get thunderstorms, the rain falls so quickly that the ground doesn't soak much of it up. In general, the ground can't soak up more than a one to two tenths of an inch per hour. So if you get an inch of rain in an hour, only 2 tenths or less will soak in. This is often why you have street flooding and low lying flooding during heavy rain, because the ground, gutters, & drains just can't keep up. While runoff is good for lake and river levels, it doesn't do anything for ground water which is how you get rid of drought conditions. Here is a peek at some of the rainfall totals from across the area Wednesday night…




The great news for fire danger, and the drought, cooler and wetter conditions look more likely heading through the next week, so hopefully some beneficial moisture is on its way.

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