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How to submit reports to guarantee the Drought Monitor in ND is accurate



Bismarck, North Dakota – The Drought Monitor reports that North Dakota’s drought has risen from 0% since the beginning of June to 20%. However, some contend that it ought to be higher.

Thunderstorms have the ability to dump many inches of rain in one area while keeping your nearby neighbors mostly dry. The unpredictable nature of summer precipitation makes it difficult to categorize drought conditions.

“That’s really hard for them because they’re trying to capture what’s happening on the whole county level, and to describe those little differences within pockets in the county, it’s hard to reflect that with the conditions this year,” said Miranda Meehan, livestock environmental stewardship specialist & extension disaster education coordinator at NDSU.

It is therefore more crucial than ever that you get on to the internet or get in touch with your extension agent to submit data and demonstrate the actual ground conditions to the Drought Monitor’s authors.

“They use lots of large climate data sets, and if we don’t have on-the-ground data that’s what those decisions are made on, because that’s the data they have available,” said Meehan.

The authors use Condition Monitoring Observer Reports (CMOR), which are immediately fed into the Drought Monitor.

“One thing to consider when we’re doing those reports is including photos because we have a lot of photos of baseline conditions, so if they can compare baseline photos to drought photos, or current conditions, that really helps them understand the current degree of drought and how it’s impacting things,” said Meehan.

For some state and federal assistance programs, the Drought Monitor must accurately reflect drought conditions.

“One that comes to mind that most of our ranchers used in 2021 would be the livestock forage program or the LFP program,” said Meehan.

A history of reports over time can also be helpful in improving future drought predictions.

“That data is used in a number of ways to help us make better-informed decisions regarding drought. And hopefully, respond and be prepared for the next drought,” said Meehan.

Additionally, the effects of the current drought are already being felt. For instance, hay production has decreased by up to 40% from normal years.

“It’s really a critical time for some of our crops, and so if we don’t get rain now, it’s going to impact those crops moving forward,” said Meehan.

To submit and access Condition Monitoring Observer Reports (CMOR), go here.