Extreme drought expands across Minnesota; hopeful rain for the weekend

Much of Minnesota could be in for a soggy weekend ahead

drought 09-21
The latest drought conditions for Minnesota
National Drought Mitigation Center

The latest drought monitor shows extreme and exceptional drought increasing across Minnesota. A slowly moving storm system could bring beneficial rains this weekend.

Worst drought conditions widen

The latest drought monitor is mostly bad news for Minnesota.

Overall drought has decreased from about 98 percent of the state to 94 percent of the state, mostly due to improvement in northeastern Minnesota. Extreme and exceptional drought, however, the highest categories, have increased.

drought 09-21
The latetest U.S. drought monitor for Minnesota
National Drought Mitigation Center

When comparing this week to last week’s drought monitor you can see the obvious visible change is the expansion of extreme drought to now include much of central, east central into southeastern Minnesota.

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drought compare
A comparison of last week and this week's drought monitor
National Drought Mitigation Center

While the summer was very dry, September continues that dry trend. Only northeastern Minnesota has seen normal or even above normal precipitation in the past 30 days. Most of central and southern Minnesota have seen a mere fraction of normal 30-day rainfall.

Below is the percentage of normal rainfall for the past 30 days:

% norm rain
Percentage of normal rainfall for the past 30 days
WeatherBELL Analytics

In the past seven days, the time between the two most recent drought monitors, there have been narrow swaths of decent rainfall but they’re overall localized rather than widespread.

7 day rain
Rainfall over the past 7 days
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, via Pivotal Weather

A soggy weekend is developing

Rain is likely starting in western Minnesota Friday night and across most of the state into Saturday and Sunday. Ahead of that there will be a few spotty showers and storms Thursday and Friday mainly in northern and northwestern Minnesota.

precip weekend 8a
Forecast precipitation Friday evening into early Tuesday
European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, via Pivotal Weather

Total rainfall through early next week could be significant and cover most of Minnesota. Northeastern Minnesota looks to see the least but keep in mind those are areas that have seen normal or above-normal rainfall in recent weeks.

wpc qpf 120
Forecast total potential rainfall through early Tuesday
NOAA, via Pivotal Weather