Counties with the worst droughts in North Dakota

Written by:
August 23, 2023
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Counties with the worst droughts in North Dakota

Nearly one-third of the continental U.S. is currently experiencing moderate to exceptional drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Parts of the West are currently experiencing a brief reprieve from its driest period of the last 1,200 years, but conditions are worsening in the Northwest and Southwest.

In periods of drought, levels of major reservoirs and rivers can fall dramatically. Groundwater systems too feel the effects, and shrinking water supplies impact agriculture, hydropower generation, and wildfire risk.

Periods of drought have intensified and become more frequent in recent years due to climate change. Scientists predict that even in low emissions scenarios, much of the U.S. will be drier by the end of the century.

Stacker cited data from U.S. Drought Monitor to identify the counties in North Dakota with the worst droughts in the week leading up to August 21, 2023. Counties are listed in order of percent of the area in drought conditions. Abnormally dry is not considered to be a drought, but is included as a separate data point. Additional data for the state overall is included. Any counties which are not experiencing drought are not included in the slideshow. Counties are listed in order of drought severity, but the list does not necessarily include every county in North Dakota which is experiencing drought.

North Dakota statistics

- Abnormally dry: 22.3%
- Area in drought: 31.0% (#14 nationally)
--- Moderate drought: 15.7%
--- Severe drought: 15.3%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Ward County

- Abnormally dry: 52.0%
- Area in drought: 48.0%
--- Moderate drought: 47.0%
--- Severe drought: 1.0%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Burke County

- Abnormally dry: 26.9%
- Area in drought: 73.1%
--- Moderate drought: 26.5%
--- Severe drought: 46.7%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

McHenry County

- Abnormally dry: 7.4%
- Area in drought: 92.6%
--- Moderate drought: 44.2%
--- Severe drought: 48.4%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Divide County

- Abnormally dry: 6.3%
- Area in drought: 93.7%
--- Moderate drought: 84.8%
--- Severe drought: 8.9%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Benson County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 66.5%
--- Severe drought: 33.5%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Walsh County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 62.7%
--- Severe drought: 37.3%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Renville County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 52.6%
--- Severe drought: 47.4%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Ramsey County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 36.1%
--- Severe drought: 63.9%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Pierce County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 31.7%
--- Severe drought: 68.3%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Pembina County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 1.2%
--- Severe drought: 98.8%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Bottineau County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 0.5%
--- Severe drought: 99.5%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Towner County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 0.0%
--- Severe drought: 100.0%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Rolette County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 0.0%
--- Severe drought: 100.0%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Cavalier County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 0.0%
--- Severe drought: 100.0%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

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