Grand Forks has received just 1.51 inches of precipitation (rain and melted snow) since Sept. 1. This is the driest Sept. 1 through Feb. 15 period in the record book, which dates to 1893. For Fargo-Moorhead, this is the 15th-driest such period since records began in 1881. Bismarck is the sixth-driest since 1875. Minot is the third-driest since 1906, while Jamestown is the sixth-driest since 1893 and Dickinson is the fifth-driest since 1939.

Regionwide, the drought is mostly a hidden concern. The deep moisture profile is not nearly so dry as in our most severe droughts of the past, such as during the late 1980s and the '30s. Also, water needs during winter are much smaller than during the growing season. However, should the ongoing dry pattern continue into summer, impacts will start to become more noticeable.

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