As was the case in 2015, there is much talk about how dry the area is this spring. A look at the Drought Monitor from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln paints most of North Dakota in “Abnormally Dry” or even 25% of the state in D1 or moderate drought conditions, but from a historical perspective how dry are we?
From a historical, or more properly a climatological, perspective the past several months have not been unusual in anyway. In fact, below is a listing of several cities relationship to average since November 1, the beginning of what I call the cold season in North Dakota.
Bismarck is running about 1 inch below normal and ranked as the 35th driest since November 1.
Fargo is currently running about 0.50 inches below normal and ranked as the 63rd driest since November 1.
Grand Forks is currently running very near average since November 1 and is ranked as the 56th driest since November 1.
Minot is currently running a bit over 1 inch below normal and ranked as the 45th driest since November 1.
Streeter is currently running right near the average for precipitation.
Williston is currently running about 0.50 inches below average since November 1 and is ranked as the 35th driest during that stretch.
Precipitation since November 1, 2015 is presented below, the brown line would indicate average through the period:
There are exceptions both ways, but as the winter was the 50th driest on record for North Dakota, which is very near the middle of the pack. April and March, the average precipitation is only around 1 inch each month or a bit higher depending on your location in the state and with the sun angle being the equivalent to August, being dry this time of year is “normal”. This is not to say that we need rain, just to say for our climate, our current moisture status is not unusual.