29. The first thunderstorm of 2010 rolled across the Bayfield Peninsula at 2:00 a.m. early this morning. Radar detected a possibility of pea-sized hail as it passed over my house, but I'll have to admit that I simply listened to the storm in bed (after unplugging a few electronics).
Unfortunately, the storm only brought 0.08" of rain to my gauge, bringing my twenty-four hour total to only 0.16". This is a far cry short of the half-inch we were all hoping for. However, this is the most rain I've seen since March 12th (0.35").
The drought across northern Wisconsin continues, expanding last Thursday (the day each week when the new map/data is published). The severe drought (darker orange) has increased north and east, while moderate drought (light orange) and abnormally dry conditions (yellow) have moved south.
Due to adequate snow melt last month, soil moisture has been adequate so far this spring.
As the multi-year drought is seemingly returning this spring, we'll begin to experience more problems if we do not receive our average precipitation. Rivers, streams, and inland lakes are all seeing levels drop. The Big Lake is fine so far, but it's recovery will likely be stalled. Agricultural impacts will be the largest threat as farmers begin to prepare their fields for planting.
After having an average amount of snowfall this winter (about 87" of total snow), the spring has been dry.
Snow melt actually occurred about one month earlier this year (2010) than last year. Because the melt occurred so early and quickly, the water ended up as run-off instead of soaking into the frozen ground.
This graph shows the cumulative precipitation from the last four years, compared to average (the smooth black line). It appears that 2010 (the blue line) has plateaued and is creeping closer and closer to 2007's red line. 2007 was the worst year of the drought, so far. We're all hoping that an end to the El Nino will bring precipitation before the summer months.