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Snow likely to help persistent drought conditions in ND

November 11, 2021 GMT

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A storm system that is expected to bring snow to North Dakota late this week could help improve long-term drought conditions that persist in the state.

Forecasters are expecting 2 inches (5 centimeters) to 4 inches (10 centimeters) of snow in the eastern half of the state with up to 6 inches (15 centimeters) in the northeastern corner of North Dakota.

Wind gusts of up to 60 mph were expected along with the snow, potentially making travel difficult, according to forecasters.

Drought conditions that brought hardships for ranchers and farmers this summer has made marked improvement. In eastern North Dakota in recent weeks much of the region no longer listed in any of the four drought categories, the Bismarck Tribune reported.

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Much of the central and west regions remain in severe or extreme drought, but even those areas have improved dramatically from last summer. There is no change in this week’s U.S. Drought Monitor map, which is updated every Thursday.

“In the Dakotas, where long-term drought is still ongoing, livestock water quality and (mule deer) fawn production were both reported to be suffering as a result of the drought,” wrote National Drought Mitigation Center Climatologist Curtis Riganti.

Harvest is mostly wrapped up in North Dakota, though about one-fifth of the corn crop and one-third of the sunflowers remain in the field as the snow moves in.

Two-thirds of the winter wheat crop, which is planted in the fall and harvested the following year, is in fair to good condition. Riganti said the Climate Prediction Center’s 6-10-day outlook favors above-normal precipitation in the Upper Midwest.