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Closer look at North Dakota’s drought outlook

Published: Mar. 16, 2021 at 6:46 PM CDT
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MINOT, N.D. – The definition of a drought is simply a lengthy period of time with a lack of moisture.

It’s something North Dakota growers are all too familiar with right now.

According to the National Weather Service, most of North Dakota has been in a drought for more than a year.

“For Western North Dakota right now we’ve been in in a meteorological drought since roughly spring April,” said NWS Bismarck Hydrologist Allen Schlag.

The impacts are felt by producers in a number of ways.

“A lot of producers needing to test their water to make sure that it’s safe for their livestock to drink. In many instances, they are probably going to need to be hauling fresh water into those pastures,” said NDSU Agent Agriculture & Natural Resources Paige Brummund.

The drought is expected to last but some say they’re hopeful that wetter conditions are on the way.

“For the time being is that it’s very dry and while that’s our current expectation is that in short term and mid-term we don’t know exactly when that switch will flip,” said Schlag.

In the meantime, hydrologists say the moisture expected through summer will not be enough to reverse some of the damage that has already occurred.

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