Reporting Rachel Slavik
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The lack of rain in Minnesota has left most of the state under extreme drought conditions, according to the Department of Natural Resources.
According to a drought condition map, large portions of the northwest, west central, southwest and south central areas of Minnesota are in the extreme drought category. Nearly half of Minnesota is under extreme or severe drought.
“Over the past four months, large areas of the state have missed the equivalent of two summer time months of rainfall. In terms of numbers, that means shortfalls of 7, 8, 9, even 10 inches short of historical averages,” said DNR climatologist Greg Spoden.
This summer, Ann and Jon Tessar couldn’t help but notice the water inching further away from their home on White Bear Lake.
“The last two months, as I drive around the lake, I can see a discernible change in the shoreline as the water recedes,” Jon Tessar said.
While lake levels here have been receding for years, this loss is different. Lack of rain through the end of the summer sped up an ongoing problem.
“This year, it’s down 16-plus inches,” said Nik Zewers, who fishes White Bear Lake. “There’s a lot of underwater structure that’s coming out. It’s getting kind of dangerous.”
But it’s not just White Bear Lake; the drought is drying up waterways all over the state. The banks of streams and rivers around the state are seeing sunlight for the first time in years.
“Without significant precipitation in the late fall, early spring, there will be a dire situation come the 2013 growing season,” Spoden said.
The DNR is asking people to stop all non-essential water use. That’s in the house and outside. They’re asking people to stop watering their trees and lawns and be conscious of the water use inside the home.
“If we’re not careful with our water, we end up with shortages we might not be able to recover from,” said Dave Leuthe, Deputy director of the DNR ecological and Water Resources Division.
Topsoil moisture across 86 percent of Minnesota is said to be short or very short.