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Meteorologist: Wisconsin needs wet spring to help drought conditions


LA CROSSE, WI (WTAQ) - Wisconsin will need a wet spring to put any kind of a dent in the drought.

That’s according to meteorologist David Miskus of the U.S. Climate Prediction Center.

He says most of the annual rainfall takes places in the spring and early summer in this part of the country, so that’s the critical period.

Washington County farmer Ross Bishop studies historical drought patterns. He says Wisconsin will need lots moisture from the winter snow melt, or else the plants won’t be able to activate their deepest roots.

So far, the news is good in that regard. The National Weather Service said La Crosse had almost as much snow in December as it had during all of last winter. But Wisconsin is still in a considerable drought.

Thursday, the U.S. Drought Monitor said 88.5 percent of the state’s land area is abnormally dry or worse. That’s held steady in the past three weeks, but it’s better than October – when 99.5 percent of the Badger State was in some form of drought.

As bad as it is here, experts say it’s worse to our west and south. A stretch from South Dakota to Texas is in an exceptional drought – the Drought Monitor’s worst category.

Milwaukee commodities’ analyst Doug Houghton of Brock Associates says that region has some of the poorest winter wheat on record – and a good share of it might have to be abandoned.