Reporting Aristea Brady
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s the driest autumn on record in Minnesota — a record that goes back about 140 years.
Since early September, the Twin Cities has picked up only 1.35 inches of rain and the state is also 6.5 inches below average for snowfall.
Lawn experts said the only thing we can do to help out our landscaping is grab a rake and try to get the leaves out of the way so that when the snow comes the moisture can penetrate the soil.
“Right now, we should only be watering our Christmas tree,” said Mark Settergren of Settergren’s Ace Hardware Store.
He said it’s better to resist the urge to water outdoor plants even though they may look neglected.
“A month ago it would’ve been perfect time for people to get out, try to get their lawn, trees, shrubs some moisture,” said Settergren, “but now with the freezing temperatures, it’s gotten too late.”
He said while there’s not much you can do now, it’s important to think ahead to spring time.
“Be ready in the spring to give it as much moisture as we can get it — some fertilizer, some aeration — and get that life coming back in,” he said.
And it’s not just homeowners that fear for the soil condition.
“You can see these darker shaded brown regions — that’s severe drought conditions — and there’s a great deal of agriculture that comes out of that area,” said WCCO Chief Meteorologist Chris Shaffer pointing to a drought map.
Shaffer said many of the regions responsible for producing Minnesota’s crops are not getting the moisture they need.
“When their crops suffer, we suffer at the check-out lines,” he said.
On the plus side, Shaffer said there may be a hidden benefit to the low water levels in our lakes, rivers and streams.
“We’ve had spring flooding almost constantly around here,” he said, “having things at lower levels will help.”
While Minnesotans will tell you Mother Nature is unpredictable, weather maps show there’s nothing significant on the horizon.
“We have a shot of some light snow, but certainly nothing that’s going to pad the stats,” Shaffer said.
Dry, itchy skin is another result of the dry spell. Dermatologists say the best thing to do after your bath or shower is to apply lotion to help seal in that moisture.