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Daryl Ritchison, WDAY, Published August 16 2013

Weather Talk: Moisture records easier to break than dry ones

The abundant moisture much of the region has recorded over the past 20 years may have skewed some memories as to how dry this area can get. Certainly, last year was a reminder of this fact for many.

Historically, eastern North Dakota and western Minnesota averaged just 15 to 20 inches of rain and melted snow for much of the 20th century before we turned wet in the 1990s and increased our current average into the 20- to 25-inch range.

Many rainfall records have been set in recent years, simply because setting records for abundant moisture is easier in a semi-arid climate than breaking dry records. Case in point, in July only 0.90 of an inch of rain fell in Fargo-Moorhead, but that did not even rank in the top 20 for driest on record.

That makes what happened around Jamestown, N.D., last month impressive, as that area recorded its driest July on record, besting even 1936. That is also why Stutsman and some surrounding counties are currently listed as being in drought conditions once again.

Have a weather question you’d like answered? Email weather@wday.com, or write to WDAY Stormtracker, WDAY-TV, Box 2466, Fargo, ND 58108

Read the blog at http://stormtrack.areavoices.com/.