Snowfall lifts parts of eastern ND out of drought category, but west still very dry

More snow is needed in parts of western North Dakota to lift it out of "moderate drought." Forum News Service file photo

MINOT, N.D. -- The weekly U.S. Drought Monitor issued for North Dakota Thursday, March 8, shows the snowstorms  in recent weeks have helped the drought, but the region remains very dry.

The heaviest snowfall from this week’s storm occurred in parts of eastern North Dakota, particularly the southeast. It is in those locations where the Drought Monitor map shows improvement in dry conditions.

"Up to a foot and a half of snow was measured in parts of the central Dakotas. This led to removal of drought from the east-central Dakotas and adjacent Minnesota," stated the outlook.

Roughly the eastern third of North Dakota is now considered "abnormally dry," the lowest degree of drought intensity gauged by the U.S. Drought Monitor. The western two-thirds of North Dakota is still considered to be in "moderate" drought.

"One significant moisture event does not break a drought," said Allen Schlag, National Weather Service hydrologist in Bismarck and a contributor to the weekly compilation of the Drought Monitor. "The moisture was beneficial but we'll have to see how much goes into the ground and if it keeps the trend going to get somewhat back to normal on the countryside."

The U.S. Drought Monitor is issued on Thursday of each week.