Drought intensifies in Jamestown region

Dry conditions continue in the area according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

April 22 drought map
The red colors indicate extreme drought while the brown indicate severe drought, according to this map issued Thursday, April 22, 2021. U.S. Drought Monitor

There is still a chance to break out of the drought conditions this spring, according to Daryl Ritchison, director of the North Dakota Agricultural Weather Network.

"We only average a little bit of precipitation in April," he said. "The wet part of the year starts in May and June."

The dusting of snow and light rain over the past two weeks hasn't brought the Jamestown area up to the average for April precipitation but did exceed the precipitation totals from last year at this time.

As of April 22, Jamestown had received 0.14 inches of moisture this month compared to a normal of 0.70 and just 0.06 last year at this time.

The year-to-date precipitation numbers are similar with 0.53 inches of moisture so far this year compared to an average of 2.39 inches and just 0.21 inches last year at this time.


Adam Jones, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Bismarck, said there is some precipitation in the forecast for next week.

"Sunday could be something more than a sprinkle," he said. "Another system early in the week could drop hundredths or even tenths of an inch of precipitation."

The moisture could help stabilize soil moisture and reduce fire dangers but little else, he said.

"There is not anything over the next week that will catch us up to normal," Jones said.

The U.S. Drought Monitor map issued Thursday has western and south-central Stutsman County in extreme drought. Consequences of an extreme drought include no growth in crops and pastures and the potential for large wildfires.

Eastern Stutsman County is listed in a severe drought with crop and pasture conditions poor and the potential for dusty conditions resulting in low air quality.

Much of the western United States is listed as having some level of drought condition. Parts of Utah, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas are listed as having exceptional drought conditions which is the most severe level of drought listed by the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Ritchison said the summer months could bring additional rain, although he is still forecasting a dry year for much of North Dakota.


"That doesn't mean it can't change," he said. "We are still one good rain from average for the year. I just don't see this happening anytime soon."

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