Drought intensifies across much of Minn.

Drought has intensified from moderate to severe in many areas in Minnesota, shows a report released Thursday from the U.S. Drought Monitor.

The report says 25 percent of the state continues to be in extreme drought.

The drought worsened because summer and fall precipitation totals in Minnesota were well below average, some by six or more inches, said Minnesota Department of Natural Resources climatologist Greg Spoden.

"It's reasonable to assume that the present drought categories will remain relatively unchanged throughout the winter. The historical average of precipitation over the next three months is just a meager two and a half inches," Spoden said. "Our top soils are mostly sealed by frost. So therefore Minnesotans be highly dependent on abundant spring rain."

He said Minnesota farmers were saved by heavy spring rains in 2012, but the situation likely won't change during winter.

"We're going to be very, very dependent on what happens this coming spring," Spoden said.

"We'll just hope for the best in 2013."

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