FARGO — Rains this week dropped almost 1.5 inches of moisture and at least interrupted a persistent dry spell that was beginning to parch lawns as summer heat begins to settle in.
As of the afternoon of Tuesday, June 8, Fargo had received 1.47 inches from thunderstorms since Sunday night, according to the National Weather Service.
The Red River is rising in response to the rains, and is predicted to continue creeping up to 17.9 feet by Saturday, just a hair below flood stage, which begins at 18 feet, according to a river forecast from the National Weather Service.
The rainy weather was an indirect result of moisture delivered by tropical depression Christobal, which drenched the Gulf Coast and moved inland, generally tracking the Mississippi River Valley.
No tropical moisture fell in Fargo-Moorhead, however, said John Wheeler, WDAY chief meteorologist.
Weather patterns and the outlook favor a return to warmer-than-normal and drier-than-normal conditions, Wheeler said. “It means we’re probably going to rely on timely rains,” he said.
“It looks to me more like a blip than a change in the pattern, however, it was a pretty good blip,” he said, referring to the rainy spell.
Still, the moisture replenished the soils and turned everything a deeper green.
“It was a timely rain,” Wheeler said.
Subsoil moisture from the very wet fall and wet early winter remain ample, and only the topsoil had dried out in recent days, Wheeler said.
“The lawns were dry and the crops were dry and that just got satisfied,” he said.
After a very wet fall and a snowy early winter, the pattern abruptly shifted in mid-January, and a drier regime has persisted since, said Wheeler and Adnan Akyüz, North Dakota’s state climatologist.
From Jan. 15 through Monday, Fargo has received 4.8 inches of accumulated moisture, ranking it the 21st-driest such period on record since 1881, Akyüz said.
“It is not unprecedented, but it is pretty dry,” he said. “Much drier than normal.”
Fargo received 1.47 inches of rain in May, below normal for the month, but adequate because of the moisture locked in the soils, he said.
“The grasses were green,” Akyüz said. “People were enjoying green grass.”
June is usually the wettest month in Fargo, with 3.9 inches of rain considered normal, followed by May, with 2.81 inches, and July, 2.79 inches.
“So it is not surprising that we receive the most precipitation in summer,” Akyüz said.