Extreme drought expands into the Twin Cities

Latest report shows drought deepening

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

Extreme drought has returned to most of the greater Twin Cities area. This week’s U.S. Drought Monitor update shows extreme drought conditions now cover the western and central Twin Cities area. (See the map above.)

In fact, a continuous channel of extreme to exceptional drought now covers a zone from near Bemidji in the northwest, south along either side of the Mississippi River through the Twin Cities, then southward into southeastern Minnesota.

Here are some key numbers from this week’s drought update:

  • 26 percent of Minnesota is now in extreme to exceptional drought

  • 64 percent is in severe to exceptional drought

  • 94 percent is in drought

Here’s a look at drought statistics for Minnesota:

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

Here’s the summary for the Midwest as deeper drought takes hold across Minnesota:

Showers associated with the cold fronts brought areas of rain to parts of Ohio and western parts of the Midwest region, with precipitation totals of half an inch or more. Locally 2 inches or more of rain fell in parts of northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin. But large parts of the region continued dry this week. Areas of drought and abnormal dryness were pulled back where the heaviest rains fell in northeast Minnesota and northern Illinois. Continuing dry soils and the compounded effects of 6 months of below-normal precipitation and summer heat resulted in the expansion of moderate to exceptional drought in parts of the Upper Mississippi River Valley states, and abnormal dryness and drought in parts of the Ohio River Valley states. Low creeks and ponds and browning of crops and lawns have been reported in Indiana. Reports like this are typical across the region. According to USDA statistics, topsoil moisture is short to very short across 79% of Iowa, 75% of Minnesota, 68% of Illinois, 64% of Wisconsin, 62% of Missouri, 56% of Indiana, and 43% of Ohio and Kentucky. The subsoil moisture statistics are: 80% Iowa, 76% Minnesota, 68% Wisconsin, 66% Illinois, 63% Missouri, 55% Indiana, and 42% Ohio. In Minnesota, 66% of the pasture and rangeland was in poor to very poor condition, with the statistics 48% for Iowa, 45% for Wisconsin, 44% for Missouri, and 41% for Illinois.

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