Drought gradually eases around Minnesota

This week's drought monitor shows slight improvement.

U.S. Drought Monitor for Minnesota
U.S. Drought Monitor for Minnesota.

It’s been a good month for rainfall across much of central and northeast Minnesota.

That extra rain has helped ease — but not erase — drought conditions in central and northeast Minnesota for this week’s U.S. Drought Monitor report, shown above.

This week’s report shows the moderate or greater drought area in Minnesota decreasing from 76 to 67 percent compared to last week. Extreme drought decreased from 23 to 17 percent.

Big patches of southern Minnesota are now drought-free.

A wet month

Many locations in central and northeast Minnesota have recorded 3 to more than 6 inches of rainfall in the past 30 days. You can see the reddish swath from around Willmar into the northwest Twin Cities northward through St. Cloud, the Iron Range, and Arrowhead.

30-day precipitation
Observed 30-day precipitation totals.
Midwest Regional Climate Center

More heavy rainfall ahead?

The overall weather pattern over the next two weeks favors significant to heavy rainfall across the Dakotas and northern Minnesota. Check out the European model, which lays out a big zone of multi-inch rainfall across the northwest half of our region through October 17.

European model (ECMWF) rainfall output
European model (ECMWF) rainfall output through October 17.
ECMWF via pivotal weather

I’m encouraged this weather pattern may help to ease drought further across the Upper Midwest before freeze-up arrives in November and December.

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