MILWAUKEE — For the first time ever, "exceptional drought" has been recorded in Wisconsin, according to NOAA's National Integrated Drought Information System or NIDIS.
That's about 0.32 percent on their drought scale. But 82.2 percent of the state of Wisconsin is in drought and almost 18 percent in Extreme Drought (D3), NIDIS notes.
Weekend rain may alleviate concerns. But the numbers NIDIS provides are startling.
According to their website, about 5 million Wisconsin residents are in areas of drought. Last June was the 5th driest June on record in Wisconsin (since 1895). We also had the 58th driest January-June stretch on record (since 1895).
The agency's drought map shows most of the state in moderate to severe drought. Extreme drought can be seen across southcentral Wisconsin including parts of the Madison area; as well as the extreme northwest corner of the state. The Milwaukee area is mostly in severe drought, according to the agency.
Read NIDIS' overview on Drought in the Midwest (per their website):
Drought and its impacts vary from region to region—due to differences in climate. Precipitation extremes in the Midwest have a major impact on the region’s resources, economic sectors, and residents. Over the last century, precipitation trends in the Midwest have been moving towards wetter conditions and fewer droughts than the region experienced in the early 20th century. However, the Midwest has still felt adverse impacts during recent droughts, particularly in 1988 and 2012. These adverse impacts include limited barge transportation on major rivers, decreased agricultural production, challenges for municipal water supply and quality, and reduced productivity for hydropower. In fall 2022, drought conditions across portions of the Mississippi River Basin caused river levels to drastically lower, which had a significant impact on the transportation of goods along the river.
An added challenge in recent years has been the tendency to transition from drought to flood and back to drought within short time spans, sometimes within a matter of months, as well as flash drought, which is a drought that intensifies rapidly.
NOAA’s National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) launched the Midwest Drought Early Warning System (DEWS) in response to the 2012 drought, which highlighted the need for additional drought early warning and preparedness in the region. The Midwest DEWS is a network of regional and national partners that share information and coordinate actions to help communities in the region cope with drought.
Spotlight on WI, where Exceptional Drought (D4) was added for the first time in #DroughtMonitor history.— NIDIS Drought.gov (@DroughtGov) August 10, 2023
It isn’t much: 0.32%. But 82.2% of the state is in drought + almost 18% in Extreme Drought (D3).
Some relief may be coming w/ a wet week ahead. https://t.co/K53ZO5RUHA @NOAA pic.twitter.com/YIyStOII1y