The drought monitor ranking for the southern portion of Stutsman County improved from extreme drought to severe drought on the map issued Sept. 2 by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The southeast corner of Stutsman County improved even more and is classified as in moderate drought. The northern half of Stutsman County remains in the extreme drought category.

The improvement to the rating for the southern half of Stutsman County did not surprise Zach Hargrove, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Bismarck.

"It seems the southern part of Stutsman County had more active weather," he said. "Those weather systems can vary widely even in a distance of just a few miles."

Rainfall amounts reported during the month of August by the North Dakota Agricultural Weather Network showed differences of nearly 3 inches of rain depending on the location.

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The highest rainfall amount in the region during the month of August was reported at Edgeley with 4.48 inches of rain. It was nearly matched by Streeter with 4.47 inches of rain for the month. Marion, also located south of Interstate 94, reported 2.43 inches of rain.

Courtenay received the least amount of rain in the Jamestown region during August with 1.58 inches of moisture. Carrington reported 2.58 inches of rain in August.

Hargrove said the rains of the last few weeks were more likely a temporary break rather than an end to the drought conditions.

"The latest six-to-10-day forecast calls for above-normal temperatures and below-normal precipitation," he said. "Nothing in the extended forecast calls for above-normal precipitation."

The good news is that the normal high temperature is now lower than it was in July and early August when temperatures got well into the 90s and sometimes over 100 degrees, Hargrove said.

"The normal high this time of year is 76 degrees," he said. "Now, a well-above-normal day will mean a high in the upper 70s or low 80s rather than in the 90s or near 100 degrees."

The U.S. Drought Monitor map is issued every Thursday through the summer and is based on weather conditions observed through Tuesday.