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Drought In Minnesota: Extreme Drought Expanded 8% In The Last Week

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Though many parts of the state have seen some raindrops in recent days, the drought that's already one of the worst in Minnesota's history isn't letting up. The latest figures show that 88% of the state is still listed under severe drought conditions, and all but 3% of the state is under at least a moderate drought.

"Statewide drought conditions have worsened, though not as quickly as they have worsened in past weeks," WCCO director of meteorology Mike Augustyniak said.

The latest update Thursday from the U.S. Drought Monitor shows that about 58% of the state is under extreme drought, up from 50% a week ago. Under these conditions, crops are harvested early, wildfires are common and surface waters are near record lows. Much of central and northern Minnesota are under these conditions.

The area of the state experiencing exceptional drought, a swath of northwestern Minnesota, is also holding in place at 8%. This is the first year that exceptional drought has been recorded in Minnesota since figures began being tracked in 1999.

Augustyniak says that some of the rain that the state saw Tuesday morning did not make it into the latest analysis. Roughly an inch of rain that fell in the Twin Cities metro area will end up going into next week's analysis.

The National Drought Mitigation Center says that recent rains did allow for some improvements in Iowa and Minnesota, but shared this caveat:

"Longer-term deficits and impacts to the hydrologic system remain across the greater part of the two states. The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northern Minnesota closed recently due to a nearby wildfire. The ongoing drought has also adversely affected bee populations and honey production. Low streamflow in rivers in Minnesota remained a problem this week. In some areas of northeast and southwest Minnesota that didn't see much or any rain this week, extreme drought widened its footprint."

Only southeastern Minnesota and a few border areas are experiencing reasonably normal conditions.

One silver lining is that there is still the possibility for rain in the forecast.

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