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Drought Summary Oct. 5, 2022

Drought Summary Oct. 5, 2022

Current U.S. drought monitor map for Montana.

Drought Conditions Improve Slightly;  Climate and Drought Experts Say it is Not Enough to Alleviate Concerns

Drought Conditions Improve Slightly;

Experts Say it is Not Enough to Alleviate Concerns

Despite recent rains, much of Montana remains mired in long-term drought.

October 5, 2022

HELENA­, Mont. — According to the latest report to the Governor’s Drought and Water Supply Advisory Committee, recent rainfall across most of Montana has done little to pull the state out of long-term drought conditions.

We saw the third warmest August on record and September saw temperatures more than five degrees above average across much of the state,” said Michael Downey, Drought Program Coordinator with the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation.High summer temperatures have depleted streams, and two years of severe to extreme drought has severely impacted Montana’s natural resource, agriculture, and recreation economies.”

Currently, 82 percent of the state is classified as abnormally to severely dry, and 12 percent of the state remains in extreme drought conditions according to experts with the Committee. At the same time last year, 66 percent of the state was in extreme or exceptional drought conditions.

Parts of northeast, southwest, and southeast Montana have been in a drought status for the last 728 days. While not a record, it is the longest period of continuous drought in Montana since the early 2000s with conditions equally and in some cases more severe.

“While we did see an improvement in drought conditions when compared to the same time last year, the state remains in a long-term pattern of severe drought that will require significant moisture to break the drought cycle,” said Downey.

Despite a forecast for a warmer than average temperatures through October, a rare "triple dip" La Nina is forecasted to impact the climate and weather through much of the winter. Experts at the National Weather Service are cautiously optimistic that above normal precipitation may help alleviate ongoing drought conditions across the state.