Drought unrelenting in central part of state

Montana State Roundup

Published July 1, 2000  | July 2000 issue

Montana's summer is getting just a little too hot, as the state contends with threats of growing drought conditions and water shortages.

At a mid-June meeting of the state Drought Advisory Committee, members reported that snowpack is negligible, rainfall has been short, reservoirs and rivers are low, fire danger is rising, and crops and grazing land do not look good. Earlier in June drought alerts were issued for 47 of the state's 56 counties, including all of eastern Montana.

In addition to the lack of moisture, June temperatures soared as much as 20 degrees above normal. While some ranchers continue to move cattle to higher pastures, others are simply selling off their herds earlier than usual. Crops considered in poor or very poor condition more than doubled from mid-May to mid-June from 15 percent to 31 percent, according to the Montana Agriculture and Statistics Service.