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No end in sight for severe drought conditions

Published: Apr. 13, 2021 at 4:46 PM CDT
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KENMARE, N.D. – After months of dry conditions and a questionable start to the planting season, the recent moisture is seen as a good thing.

However, state climate leaders said we need more to end drought conditions.

For farmers like Jared Johnson and his family, this has already been a dry year for farming.

“We went into the fall dry, and we didn’t really think anything of it because well, the winter was coming and usually we get a little bit of snow but by February there really wasn’t much snow,” said Johnson

Johnson said he had already made a plan in the event the drought continued.

That included collecting water from the river on his property, using water from Kenmare Rural water supplier, or pushing back planting.

“As of right now we’ve got maybe enough moisture to get it going, but after that it probably won’t do much,” said Johnson.

Now some moisture has returned as rain and now snow have been falling since Sunday.

But according to state climatologist Adnan Akyüz, farmers may not want to abandon their backup plans just yet.

“I wish I could said that it is the end of the dry period. You have to keep in mind that the dry period started eight months ago for Minot and many more locations around that,” said Akyüz.

Akyüz said the dry winter and high temperatures combined with low soil moisture lead to a cycle of dryness across a 180-day period.

He said an area would need to see at least 15 days of continuous moisture or one storm a week to break the cycle.

“Four inches of snow or 0.5 inches of liquid accumulance is not going to erase the drought, that would be too easy. You need these kind of weather patterns progressing into the future for a very long period of time,” said Akyüz.

Hoping for better forecasts for a better planting season.

According to Akyüz, last month was the driest month of March recorded since the state began taking records in 1895.

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