Predicted wet spring could ease drought
GRAND FORKS, N.D. —The next three months could bring more cold weather, as well as some relief to the stubborn drought that has plagued much of North Dakota and Minnesota over the past 18 months.
The climate outlook from February through April calls for a “tendency for more frequent periods of below-median temperatures and above-median precipitation across much of the region, according to the Climate Prediction Center in Chanhassen, Minn. The outlook extends throughout much of the Northern Plains region.
“This may help alleviate or help improve drought conditions as we get into the spring snowmelt and early planting season,” the report said.
The U.S. Drought Outlook suggests some improvement is likely across a large portion of the region during the snowmelt season. If that develops as forecast, the improvement “will come from snow melting and the resultant remoistening of the topsoil.”
The improvement, shown as “drought likely to improve, impacts ease,” suggested in the Drought Outlook extends from eastern North Dakota, through Minnesota and Iowa, as well as much of Wisconsin.
Much of the forecast improvement, the CPC reported, depends on:
-- How much additional snow falls and the water content of the snow, and
-- The rate of melt this spring.
Ultimately, the CPC said, the impact of the return to a below-normal temperature and above-normal precipitation pattern on the continuing drought will not be assessed until after the melt and after any spring rains occur.
The National Weather Service expects to issue its first spring flood outlook Thursday.