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Dry conditions worsen: Over 50% of Minnesota is in moderate drought

NEXT Weather: 9 a.m. forecast from July 6, 2023
NEXT Weather: 9 a.m. forecast from July 6, 2023 03:10

By Katie Fongvongsa, WCCO Intern

MINNEAPOLIS -- Drought conditions are significantly worse in Minnesota compared to this point last year.

According to the National Drought Mitigation Center, as of July 4 more than half of Minnesota - 56.7% - is now in a moderate drought, compared to less than 1% last year.

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East metro and southeastern cities, closer to the outer edges, are either in moderate or severe drought. Over 8% of our state sits at a severe level. No areas of the state had severe drought at this point last year.

U.S. Drought Monitor

While technically not drought conditions, over 98% of the state is experiencing abnormally dry conditions, compared to just over 17% last year.

Over 4.4 million people are estimated to be in areas of drought this year.

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The only part of the state that is not experiencing drought is a smaller portion of southwestern Minnesota. Minnesota has so far avoided extreme or exceptional drought levels.

The National Drought Mitigation Center recorded some historic impacts of drought conditions. On the lower end of the scale, things like fire danger rises, lake and river levels decline, soil moisture decreases and the agricultural industry is affected. On the higher end, different wildlife patterns such as bears coming out for food and fish kills can occur. The risks for fire danger increases, farming grounds harden, landscaping becomes stressed and the river flow lowers. Wildfires are also widespread at the highest level.

Across the Midwest this week, some of the southern states have seen heavy rain that lessened their drought levels while others like Minnesota missed their chance to improve. 

Some pop-up showers are expected over the weekend, but will likely have little effect on overall drought conditions.

Precipitation outlook

From July 12-16, chances do look better for rain. Check the graphic below. 

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