Drought slowly expanding in Minnesota

Twin Cities rainfall is now seven inches below average this year.

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

Drought has a way of creeping in on cat’s paws.

Thursday’s latest U.S. Drought Monitor report for Minnesota shows drought slowly expanding across our state. It’s not as deep or widespread as in 2021, but the droughty footprint is growing slowly.

  • 41.77 percent of Minnesota is now classified as abnormally dry or in drought status.

  • 14.55 percent of our state is in drought, with 4.37 percent in the severe drought category.

  • Severe drought basically includes most of the greater Twin Cities area now and runs westward to near the Minnesota River Valley.

  • 3,061,530 Minnesotans live in dry to drought-impacted areas.

Drought statistics for Minnesota
Drought statistics for Minnesota.

Dry west, wet east

The past 30 days has produced a precipitation pattern with the heaviest rainfall east of Minnesota. You can see how much of Wisconsin has been wet. Areas around Milwaukee and suburbs down to Lake Geneva and the northern suburbs of Chicago have been soaked with more than five to as much as 10 inches of rainfall.

30-day precipitation
30-day observed precipitation.
Midwest Regional Climate Center

Further west, western Minnesota has picked up less than an inch of rainfall in the past month.

Compared to average, much of western Minnesota has received less than 25 percent of average precipitation over the past month.

30-day precipitation departure from average
30-day precipitation departure from average.
Midwest Regional Climate Center

Precipitation in the Twin Cities is now running a full 7 inches below average in 2022.

Climate data for the Twin Cities
Climate data for the Twin Cities.
NOAA via Iowa Emergency Management

Friday’s showers will produce generally light rainfall totals of less than .50” in Minnesota. We need multiple widespread heavy rainfall events in the next two months before the ground freezes to recharge soils, rivers, and lakes in Minnesota.

Let’s hope for some significant storms this fall.

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