A wet month


August precipitation levels for Jamestown are above normal and more consistent than average, according to Allen Schlag, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service in Bismarck.

So far this month, the Jamestown Regional Airport has recorded 5.43 inches of rain, he said. That is about 3.6 inches above the normal 1.8 inch level for Aug. 1-28, he said.

"That's pretty wet," Schlag said.

Jamestown has had some moisture every day going back to Aug. 23, Schlag said. The airport precipitation totals for the past week were 0.17 inches on Monday, 0.26 inches on Sunday, 1.09 inches on Saturday, 0.58 inches on Friday, and 0.10 inches on Thursday.

What makes this wet period so beneficial is that the temperatures stayed between 62 and 75 degrees over the days that it rained, he said. The cooler temperatures allowed more moisture to soak into the ground, and that is beneficial to soil and plants.

"The real advantage is with the cooler weather," Schlag said.

The current steady rain with lower temperatures is proving very beneficial for pasture land and non-native grasses, such as clover and alfalfa. Late growth crops, such as soy and corn that are still growing, will also benefit, Schlag said.

The North Dakota counties along Interstate 94 and especially from Stutsman to Cass County have done well with the rain this summer, said Daryl Ritchison, interim director of the North Dakota Agricultural Weather Network in Fargo. Growers get excited when they hear about higher rain averages, but it's more important if the rain doesn't all come in a few days and the rest of the month is dry, he said.

"Stutsman County had a pretty dry early August," Ritchison said.

Soy crops need a lot of moisture and they seem to be getting more than usual this August in Stutsman County, but it's still too early to talk about the end of the season, he said. Historically, August tends to be a month with more dry, hot days than rain, with a high potential for evaporation.

"Most areas of North Dakota are looking at the sky for the next thunderstorm," Ritchison said.

The counties of the north, with few exceptions, have had a dry summer, and recent rains will not help crops as much, he said. There are spots around Bismarck that have done well with rain this summer but Steele County has suffered.

The forecast for Wednesday is sunny with a high near 73 degrees and a low around 56 degrees. Thursday is also expected to be sunny with a high near 79 degrees with winds averaging 11 to 15 mph and gusts as high as 24 mph.

There is a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms before 1 a.m. Friday, with a low around 59 degrees and winds of 6 to 13 mph, according to the Weather Service. Friday should be mostly sunny with a high near 75 degrees and a low of around 52 degrees.

The weekend forecast is for sunny skies and temperatures in the mid to upper 70s. There is a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms on Sunday evening, and Labor Day is expected to be mostly sunny with a high near 79 degrees.