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Montana’s wet spring has improved drought conditions

The Yellowstone River in Livingston, MT, on the morning of June 13, 2022.
Nick Mott
The Yellowstone River in Livingston, MT, on the morning of June 13, 2022.

Montana’s cool, wet spring has improved the state’s drought conditions. The state is expected to release a snapshot of drought conditions Thursday.

Montana is coming off the fourth driest year on record and the wet spring has improved drought conditions according to Michael Downy, head of the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation Service’s Water Planning Section.

“We’ll probably have upwards of 20% of the state with no drought category at all and then a bunch more of the state still trending abnormally dry but really not in a drought category.”

Downy says northwest Montana is now nearly drought free.

“Things in northeast Montana, which were really dire last summer – northeast and southeast have improved greatly. Obviously south central [Montana] is reeling not from drought but from flooding. It’s really the central core of the state that’s still in more of a drought status.”

North central Montana remains stubbornly dry.

Extended hot, dry weather could erase any gains made over the past few months.

Edward O’Brien first landed at Montana Public Radio three decades ago as a news intern while attending the UM School of Journalism. He covers a wide range of stories from around the state.  
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