Some years are wet and some years are dry. Such is the nature of our highly variably Northern Plains climate. However, when the precipitation data are statistically smoothed into three, five or seven year running averages, much of this inter-annual variability is smoothed away, revealing periods of generally drier and wetter weather.

In general, our climate was wetter from the start of record keeping in the 1880s through the 1910s. It became drier in the late 1920s, peaking with the severe drought in the 1930s. However, it remained generally drier from the 1940s through the 1980s. The climate turned generally much wetter in the early 1990s, peaking about 10 years ago. The last few years have shown a tendency toward more general dryness again. It remains to be seen if another long-term 1930s type drought is coming soon, but the past record certainly indicates that such a thing is possible.

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