USDA Drought Monitor (3/02): Precipitation Falls Across Midwest

According to today's Drought Monitor report of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), half an inch or more of precipitation fell across much of the Midwest region, with only the northern half of Minnesota receiving little to no precipitation and less than half an inch straddling the Ohio River.

A large region of 2 inches or more of precipitation extended from northeast Missouri to the southern Great Lakes. This precipitation added to precipitation from earlier weeks to shrink or eliminate abnormal dryness from Missouri to Ohio, and contracted abnormal dryness and moderate to severe drought in states from Missouri to Minnesota to Michigan.

This has been a particularly wet winter for the Upper Midwest. But previous months, especially last summer, were dry and hot, which dried the soils. As winter set in, the soils froze and the dry condition was locked into place. The soils in the Upper Midwest are still frozen, so the benefits of the recent precipitation, which is laying as a deep snow cover, won’t be realized until the soils thaw and the snow meltwater soaks into the ground.