29. Tomorrow's weather looks to be more interesting than of late. So, with the hope that we will receive some rainfall, I wanted to illustrate the need for rain in the Lake Superior watershed. To the right is the Palmer Drought Index Map of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. The blue dot is about where I am writing from. I cropped the image from the weekly value map ending August 4th, the large map of the US can be found here. The dark orange indicates "Severe Drought" on the Palmer Drought Index scale.
Closer to home, I have a few numbers that show how dry we are here.
For June, we were 1.09" below normal, (67%). July continued the dry trend by being 2.67" less than what we should have received (24%). And for August we are already running 1.0 inch below normal (from Aug 1-9). For 2007 we are running 8.3 inches below normal, Jan 1st through Aug 9th (48%). We've had half the moisture we usually get!
The water levels in local streams have been dropping to extreme lows. Of 59 years of data, the White River (outside of Ashland, WI) has lower flow than the record low of 1989. Current flow is 122 cubic feet per minute (cfm), lower than the old record by 19 cfm.
So far these conditions have not severely impacted the local agricultural sector -- local radio news indicates that crops are still surviving despite the lack of rainfall, but show increasing stress.
It's been dry the last several months and the local indicators are starting to show drought conditions. Fire danger has been increasing, and crops will begin to fail if we don't break this pattern soon. If I didn't water my vegetable garden, it would have died last month.