Much of Minnesota moving rapidly toward drought

Abnormally dry zone doubles across Minnesota

U.S. Drought Monitor
U.S. Drought Monitor for Minnesota
U.S. Department of Agriculture, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

We’re scanning the weather maps for rain again in the Huttner Weather Lab these days.

Minnesota is trending dry again. And if current and forecast trends continue, much of the state will likely move into drought conditions in the next few weeks.

Last week’s U.S. Drought Monitor update (above) shows abnormally dry conditions in Minnesota more than doubled from around 30 percent to 65 percent in just a week. A small corner in southwestern Minnesota is in moderate drought.

Below-average rainfall has favored areas of central Minnesota over the past 30 days. You can see on the 30-day precipitation department map below that southwestern Minnesota has been wet but much of central Minnesota has run drier than average.

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

Southwestern Minnesota has seen several inches of rain in the past month. But much of that came in one large rainfall event. Much of central Minnesota has received less than an inch of rain in the past 30 days.

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

Dry forecast

June is the wettest month of the year on average in Minnesota. Much of Minnesota gets over 4 inches of rain on average in June. But the next 10 days look exceedingly dry.

Forecast models project little rain across Minnesota, with heavier rains in the western Dakotas into the Rockies.

Here’s the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts model rainfall output for the next 10 days:

European model (ECMWF) precipitation output
Precipitation output forecast for the next 10 days
European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, via Pivotal Weather

Unless we get a significant pattern change, expect more of Minnesota to slide into drought in the next few weeks — for the third straight year.

Stay tuned.