Drought continues to hammer Montana, reflected in low September moisture

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Cracked ground surrounds the remaining water in a stock pond on the Mike and Nancy Ereaux ranch as drought and grasshoppers destroyed crops near Malta in July.

LARRY MAYER, Billings Gazette Brett French

The dire dry conditions in the upper Missouri River Basin continued in September with 88% of the region experiencing some form of abnormally dry conditions or drought, a 6% increase from the end of August.

September runoff in the basin above Sioux City, Iowa, was 0.8 million acre-feet, 67% of the long-term average, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which is responsible for managing dams along the river. Soil conditions in the region continue to be very dry. According to the National Drought Mitigation Center, October is not predicted to provide much relief with drought forecast to persist across much of the western United States and the northern Great Plains.

The center’s monitoring showed most of Montana was about 3 inches below normal for precipitation in September, singling out Eastern Montana for special recognition by noting

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