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Precipitation a welcome sight for farmers and ranchers, but still a long way from improving drought conditions

Published: Apr. 12, 2021 at 9:40 PM CDT
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WILLISTON, N.D. - Rain and snow. What we’ve all been waiting for finally arrived.

The state saw about a quarter to half an inch, which will sink some moisture to the ground. This is great to get green grass, but we are not out of the woods yet.

For farmers and ranchers, they will take anything they get at this point.

“With that ground being thawed already underneath, a large majority of (the moisture) is going to soak in, so that’s a blessing,” said Beau Wisness, a farmer and rancher near Keene.

While this is a cause for celebration, it doesn’t erase the fact that North Dakota is still suffering Severe and Extreme drought conditions. We will need a lot more rain to make any improvements.

“That’s just ten percent of what we’d need to really be satisfying the need for moisture across western North Dakota,” said Allen Schlag, Hydrologist with the National Weather Service in Bismarck.

This year, soil moisture and precipitation totals are well below where it should be on average according to National Weather Service Hydrologist Allen Schlag. We would need an exceptional month to lower the drought conditions.

“I’d probably want to see pretty close to inch and a half to two inches of moisture across a large area for the remainder of April before we even thought of improving the drought conditions out there,” Schlag said.

More opportunities for precipitation are expected in the weeks to come, but how much will show up in Western North Dakota remains to be seen.

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