- After a prolonged period of drought across the Northwoods, good news comes after a surplus of rainfall last month. But the impacts of the drought remain.
The Climate Prediction Center has lifted just about every Northwoods county out of the Abnormally Dry category. In other words coming out of lingering rain total deficits.
The Northwoods has been under this abnormally dry condition since the end of last summer.
But with an extra an inch and a half of rainfall last month, the condition has been lifted. As of May 29th, a majority of the Northwoods stands drought free.
Even severe drought conditions just to our southwest in Minnesota have been dropped completely.
However only a few areas are still experiencing abnormal conditions, like Florence County, and portions of Iron and Vilas counties. The length of the abnormal period here still has long lasting effects.
Effects which can correlate with a 30 year drop of more than 5 feet in lake levels, like Anvil Lake in Eagle River, according to Wisconsin Lake Vice President Sandy Gillum. "From my perspective here in Vilas County, we have not seen lake levels rise very much. We are impacted because we have small water sheds, and we have lakes that have not recieved a lot of precipitation of Winter or the Spring even.
At Anvil Lake, Sandy says she has seen the lake levels drop even though we are now out of abnormal conditions. Her dock steps were covered over by an inch of water, now that level has dropped by more than three inches.
"We have experienced a lot of wind, and sun, and an early ice out. Which all adds up to warmer lakes for this time of year, which drives evaporation and lake levels dropping." Gillum also says a main reason our lakes are slow to rebound is our under ground water table. "The bottoms are made up of sand, and gravels and clays, and bolders, some of those matrices allow water to seep through. Lakes feed into the ground water system, they don't always hold water like a bath tub."
So far it's been a relatively slow start for rainfall totals here in June, even with the rainfall we've seen today.
The Climate Prediciton Center has forcasted for an average summer in terms of total rainfall.
While Gillum says an average season won't raise lake levels, she says it's a start in balancing out our ground water table, which in the future could lead toward a rebound in lake levels.