Drought creeps deeper into North Dakota

Dry conditions likely will persist throughout the summer.

The latest U.S. Drought Monitor shows nearly 25 percent of North Dakota is in a moderate drought.

“As the drought conditions are worsening in some parts, they are developing or showing early signs of drought in other parts of the state,” says Adnan Akyuz, professor of climatological practice at North Dakota State University and North Dakota’s state climatologist.

Counties that are in moderate drought are Bottineau, Renville, Ward, McHenry, McLean, Mercer, Oliver, Burleigh, Morton, Grant, Sioux, Emmons, Kidder, Stutsman, Barnes, Cass, Logan, McIntosh, LaMoure, Dickey, Ransom, Sargent and Richland.

After completing the ninth wettest six-month period, which ended in February, the precipitation pattern started to change, according to Akyuz.

The entire state is showing less than average precipitation during the last three-month period. Portions of central and south-central North Dakota received only 25 to 50 percent of normal precipitation during this period, and even less in some areas.

Spring so far has been the 15th driest in Fargo, seventh driest in Bismarck, 10th driest in Minot and 17th driest in Jamestown.

High winds not only are causing the top soil to dry out quickly, but they’re also causing top soil to drift, and even causing blowing dust in central parts of the state.

“If average temperatures were not as cool as they have been, and if we did not follow a significantly wet six-month period, conditions would be worse,” Akyuz says.

He predicts the dry conditions will persist throughout the summer.

Visit to see the latest U.S. Drought Monitor map.

–NDSU Extension