Drought persists in parts of Montana, Missouri River basin

Billings Gazette

About 62% of the Missouri River basin is currently experiencing some form of abnormally dry or drought conditions, with 6% in extreme or exceptional drought, according to the National Drought Mitigation Center.

In Montana, drought is persisting in the north-central, central and northeast corners of the state, with extreme drought conditions still plaguing the area east of the Rocky Mountain Front.

Despite the continuing dry spell, the Missouri River basin saw improved runoff in June and July compared to what was originally forecast, but not enough to overcome the long-term drought persisting in much of the basin. That includes parts of Wyoming, South Dakota and Nebraska.

July runoff in the Missouri River basin above Sioux City, Iowa, was 3.2 million acre-feet, which is 98% of average and 0.7 MAF more than was forecast last month, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The annual runoff forecast of 20.6 MAF is 80% of average and 0.6 MAF higher than last month’s forecast.

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“As expected, reservoir inflows in July have been declining due to the warmer and drier conditions in the upper Missouri River Basin,” said John Remus, chief

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