Snow and rainfall has not helped state get out of drought status

MILWAUKEE -- Snow that fell in the Milwaukee area on December 19th and 20th has improved drought conditions that began this summer -- but the snowfall has not helped the state get out of drought status.

Rusty Kapela with the National Weather Service says with recent snowfall and rainfall, drought conditions throughout the state are improving.

"The storm dumped over two inches of rain from Port Washington, Sheboygan down to Racine and Kenosha and of course, the big news was Madison and those parts of south central Wisconsin," Kapela said.

The NWS tallied rain and snow totals and compared December 18th to July 24th, when nearly the entire southern third of the state was under an extreme drought. Now, the state is considered abnormally to moderately dry.

Kapela says there is promising news, as the latest numbers were completed one day before the storms hit. 

Kapela estimates most of southeastern Wisconsin would still need six to eight inches of precipitation this year alone, to pull out of the drought. In the southwestern part of the state, that number is more like 10 to 14 inches.

"Over the long term, we need a lot more snow and rain this winter," Kapela said.

New drought numbers from the NWS come out on Thursday, December 27th. The NWS says 11 counties in Wisconsin either tied or broke its one, two and three day snow totals, and would be eligible for FEMA money.