Drought Information Statement
Issued by NWS Billings, MT

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DROUGHT INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BILLINGS MT
615 AM MDT TUE JUL 26 2016

...DROUGHT CONDITIONS INTENSIFYING OVER FAR SOUTHEAST MONTANA...

CURRENT CONDITIONS...

A SMALL AREA OF D2 (SEVERE) TO D3 (EXTREME) DROUGHT WAS OBSERVED IN
SOUTHEASTERN CARTER COUNTY ON JULY 19TH. THE PERCENTAGE OF MONTANA
THAT WAS OBSERVED TO BE IN D3 OR GREATER DROUGHT WAS 0.47 PERCENT.
THE REMAINDER OF SOUTH CENTRAL AND SOUTHEAST MONTANA RANGED FROM NO
DROUGHT TO MODERATE DROUGHT CONDITIONS. CURRENT CONDITIONS AS
DEPICTED BY THE U.S. DROUGHT MONITOR CAN BE FOUND HERE:
HTTP://DROUGHTMONITOR.UNL.EDU

SYNOPSIS...

A WARM AND DRY SPRING AND EARLY SUMMER, ON THE HEELS OF A DRY
WINTER, ALLOWED DROUGHT CONDITIONS TO INTENSIFY DURING MID SUMMER.
PRECIPITATION OVER THE PAST 30 DAYS WAS LESS THAN 50 PERCENT OF
NORMAL ACROSS THE REGION. TEMPERATURES OVER THE PAST MONTH HAVE BEEN
JUST SLIGHTLY WARMER THAN NORMAL. FOR THE ENTIRE YEAR TO DATE AS OF
THE END OF JUNE, THE COOP STATION AT ALBION 1N WAS REPORTING ITS
THIRD WARMEST YEAR ON RECORD DATING BACK TO 1946.

IMPACTS...

-WILDFIRE ACTIVITY: WILDFIRE SEASON BEGAN EARLY IN 2016, AND SEVERAL
SMALL WILDFIRES HAVE OCCURRED IN SOUTHEAST MONTANA OVER THE PAST
MONTH. WILDFIRE POTENTIAL REMAINS HIGH.

-STREAMFLOW: IN GENERAL, THE STATE IS EXPERIENCING LOW MOISTURE
CONDITIONS IN THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN FRONT, ALONG THE YELLOWSTONE RIVER,
AND IN THE WEST AND NORTHWEST DUE TO TWO YEARS OF LOW SNOW
ACCUMULATION DURING THE WINTER MONTHS, EARLY RUNOFF AND HIGHER
TEMPERATURES. THE NOTABLE EXCEPTION TO THIS SUMMARY IS THE NORTHEAST
PORTION OF THE STATE, WHERE RECORD RAIN EVENTS HAVE LED TO ABOVE
NORMAL FLOW CONDITIONS. THE YELLOWSTONE RIVER IS RUNNING AT FLOWS
MUCH BELOW NORMAL FOR THE FULL EXTENT OF ITS REACH, WITH THE SHIELDS
RIVER NEAR LIVINGSTON AT 30 PERCENT OF NORMAL AND SETTING A NEW ALL-
TIME LOW IN 37 YEARS OF GAGE RECORDS FOR THIS SITE.

-SOIL MOISTURE: THE YELLOWSTONE IS IN THE 5-10TH PERCENTILE FOR MUCH
OF PARK, GALLATIN, SWEET GRASS, ROSEBUD, CUSTER, CARTER, POWDER
RIVER, BIG HORN AND CARBON COUNTIES. ROOTZONE SOIL MOISTURE IS ALSO
SIGNIFICANTLY DEPLETED IN THESE AREAS.

-RESERVOIRS: FOR THOSE FEEDING THE YELLOWSTONE, COONEY IS 95 PERCENT
OF CAPACITY, COTTONWOOD 91 PERCENT, TONGUE RIVER 95 PERCENT, BIGHORN
94 PERCENT.

-COMMUNITIES FROM BIG TIMBER TO MILES CITY WERE INCLUDED IN A 14-
COUNTY DROUGHT ALERT AREA IDENTIFIED THIS WEEK BY THE GOVERNOR`S
DROUGHT AND WATER SUPPLY ADVISORY COMMITTEE. WATER SUPPLY AND SOIL
MOISTURE REPORTS FROM STATE AND FEDERAL AGENCIES PROMPTED THE MOVE.
IN PARTS OF MONTANA, THE DRYLAND HAY HARVEST IS DOWN 30 TO 50
PERCENT OF NORMAL. BECAUSE WHEAT PRICES ARE SO LOW AND THE COST OF
HAY IS RISING, SOME FARMERS HAVE REPORTED BAILING THEIR WHEAT FOR
ANIMAL FEED. (BILLINGS GAZETTE, JULY 20)

-ACCORDING TO THE MONTANA WATER SUPPLY AND MOISTURE STATUS FROM
DNRC, THE FOLLOWING COUNTIES WERE IN MODERATELY DRY STATUS: SWEET
GRASS, STILLWATER, CARBON, YELLOWSTONE AND CARTER.

SEASONAL OUTLOOKS...

THE AUGUST OUTLOOK FROM THE CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER CALLS FOR
EQUAL CHANCES OF BELOW, ABOVE OR NEAR NORMAL TEMPERATURES, AND A
SLIGHT HEDGE TOWARD WETTER THAN NORMAL CONDITIONS. PRECIPITATION IN
AUGUST IS TYPICALLY DUE TO THUNDERSTORM ACTIVITY AND WILL MOST
LIKELY NOT IMPROVE DROUGHT CONDITIONS.

THE THREE-MONTH OUTLOOK FOR AUGUST-SEPTEMBER-OCTOBER CALLS FOR
WARMER THAN NORMAL TEMPERATURES AND A SLIGHT HEDGE TOWARD WETTER
THAN NORMAL PRECIPITATION.

LA NINA CONDITIONS ARE CURRENTLY DEVELOPING IN THE TROPICAL PACIFIC
OCEAN, AND A WEAK EPISODE IS PREDICTED FOR THE UPCOMING WINTER
SEASON. LA NINA CONDITIONS HISTORICALLY FAVOR SLIGHTLY INCREASED
ODDS OF COOLER AND WETTER WEATHER.

GRAPHICAL SEASONAL OUTLOOKS FROM THE CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER CAN
BE FOUND HERE: HTTP://WWW.CPC.NCEP.NOAA.GOV

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS...

THE U.S. DROUGHT MONITOR IS PRODUCED THROUGH A PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN
THE NATIONAL DROUGHT MITIGATION CENTER AT THE UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA-
LINCOLN, THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, AND THE
NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION. INFORMATION FOR
THIS STATEMENT HAS BEEN GATHERED FROM NWS AND FAA OBSERVATION SITES,
MONTANA DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES AND CONSERVATION, STATE
COOPERATIVE EXTENSION SERVICES, USDA, NRCS, USACE AND USGS.

QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS...

IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS ABOUT THIS DROUGHT INFORMATION
STATEMENT PLEASE CONTACT:
 NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
 2170 OVERLAND AVENUE
 BILLINGS MT 59102
 PHONE: 406-652-0851
 W-BYZ.WEBMASTER@NOAA.GOV



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