Updraft®

More than 5 million Minnesotans now live in the drought zone

99 percent of Minnesota is in drought

Twin Cities area drought update
Twin Cities area drought update
Twin Cities National Weather Service office

The drought of 2023 continues to deepen in Minnesota. For the third straight summer, somebody flipped the rainfall switch to the off position across most of our state.

More than 98 percent of Minnesota is now in drought according to this week’s U.S. Drought Monitor update. Extreme to exceptional drought now covers much of central and southeastern Minnesota.

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

And a growing part of Minnesota is in severe to exceptional drought. Check out these numbers from this week’s report:

  • 98.58 percent of Minnesota is in drought status

  • 61.53 percent is in severe drought or worse

  • 19.21 percent is in extreme or exceptional drought

  • 5,297,359 estimated population in drought areas:

Here is the discussion from this week’s report about the region around Minnesota:

Midwest Drought Summary

A warm start to September and lack of adequate precipitation during the late summer resulted in a 1-category degradation to parts of the Midwest. The largest 30-day precipitation deficits (more than 3 inches) exist across much of Iowa, southern Minnesota, and southwestern Wisconsin. Conversely, heavy precipitation supported a 1-category improvement across northeastern Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin.

Rainfall deficits growing

Multi-inch rainfall deficits compared to average continue to deepen around much of Minnesota. Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport has recorded just 17.43 inches of precipitation so far in 2023. That’s more than 7 inches below the average to date.

The southwestern half of Minnesota has recorded less than 25 percent of average rainfall over the past 30 days.

30-day precipitation departure from average 2
30-day precipitation departure from average
Midwest Regional Climate Center

Northeastern Minnesota has had ample rainfall, but many areas have recorded less than one-half inch in the southwest.

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

A cool front brings scattered rain and thunderstorms across Minnesota Thursday night into Friday. Forecast models suggest a wetter pattern may develop by late next week.

NOAA 8 to 14-day precipitation outlook
8 to 14-day precipitation outlook
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Stay tuned.