Rain Helps to Alleviate Drought - KULR-8 Television, Billings, MT

Rain Helps to Alleviate Drought

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BILLINGS -

Mother Nature put on an impressive show over the weekend, bringing much needed moisture across the region. But our drought has unfortunately not yet been erased and Billings still has a ways to go before we completely catch up.

Still, with a whopping 1.5 inches of rainfall over the past weekend for the Magic City, we're finally starting to put a dent in our drought conditions.The last time Billings saw rainfall that significant was two years ago, complete with massive flooding across the area. But since river levels have been so low recently with the extended drought, there has been relatively little flooding as a result.

It's also putting a nice, if temporary damper on the approaching fire season.

"With this system coming in, that will put a delay on our fire season quite a bit and help to green things up quite a bit," said warning coordination meteorologist Tom Frieders with the Billings National Weather Service office.

But even with all that rain stacking up, the drought is far from over for Billings.

"We're not out of the woods yet. If we turn right back into a dry pattern, you're still going to have some issues with the drought conditions since we are in extreme drought across the area," said Frieders.

In fact, some of the rain now could lead to fire weather down the road with fresh fuels growing as a result of this weekend's rain.

"We're probably seeing some of those finer fuels develop a bit due to this moisture, so that could add a little bit more intensity to the fire season," said BLM public affairs specialist Kristen Lenhardt.

Billings is still sitting about an inch of rain below average for the year. The best chance for us to catch up will be during the rest of May and through June, before things turn drier, as usual, for the summer months.