MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- As Minnesota enters a new season, drought conditions in the state are easing off. In fact, for the first time in awhile, no parts of the state are in exceptional stages of drought.
The latest data from the U.S. Drought Monitor show that in the last week the state's areas of moderate and severe drought conditions across central and southern Minnesota are also down significantly over the course of the last week -- down 10% and 9% respectively.
At this point, about one quarter of the state is still considered to be under extreme drought.
WCCO director of meteorology Mike Augustyniak says that a combination of recent rain and cooler temperatures are the cause for the downgrades.
About 76% of the state is at least experiencing moderate drought, and 50% falls under severe drought.
Minnesota's record-setting drought this summer came as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said the nation experienced the hottest summer on record, just a fraction of a degree hotter than the 1936 Dust Bowl Summer.
According to NOAA, the average temperature during meteorological summer -- June 1 through Aug. 31 -- was 74.0 degrees Fahrenheit, beating the Dust Bowl record by less than 0.01 of a degree.
Several western states, such as California, Oregon, Idaho, and Utah, saw their hottest summers on record. As for Minnesota, the state experienced its second-hottest summer since records began more than 120 years ago. The only hotter year was 1988.
The summer was also the seventh-driest experienced in Minnesota. Between June and August, the state averaged 7.65 inches of rainfall, which is about 3.5 inches below average.
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