Posted at: 03/05/2013 5:40 PM
By: Dan Conradt
Snow Brings Little Relief From Drought
(ABC 6 NEWS) -- It might seem hard to believe if you spent the day shoveling the driveway or had to dig the car out of a snowbank, but there wasn't nearly enough moisture in this snow.
At least, not if you look at the big picture.
"We went into the fall extremely dry. Most of last summer was pretty dry, so we're in a pretty severe drought," said Randy Berg at Berg’s Nursery in Austin.
On average, a foot of snow contains one inch of water. So if there's about a foot of snow on the ground:
"It's still only one inch of rain for all the snow that's out there, and much of that won't actually soak in," Randy Berg said.
“It'll be difficult to get a lot of the snow into the ground since the ground is still frozen fairly deeply," added Kirk Phelps of the Mower County FSA office.
And with parts of the Midwest experiencing moisture as much as 17 inches below normal:
"To recharge the subsoil takes above normal precipitation probably for a year or two, maybe longer," Kirk Phelps explained.
“For some of the larger trees we transplanted we were down as far as two feet and the ground that deep was dry as a bone," Randy Berg explained.
But even if the snow melts and runs off, there's a benefit
“I think it’s good for the lakes and rivers,” Randy Berg said.
"The Mississippi has had trouble floating barges over the winter, so this will eventually get there and help them with that problem," Kirk Phelps added. But even that comes with a potential downside.
“The more runoff we have the worse the quality of that water usually is," Randy Berg told us.
The good news is that the drought hasn't gotten worse in the last couple of months
"We've had kind of normal precipitation over the winter. it helps, especially when you consider we've been below normal for so long," said Kirk Phelps.