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Wet April’s Benefit? Easing MN Drought Conditions

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(credit: CBS) Lauren Casey
Lauren Casey joined the WCCO-TV weather team in August 2011, a...
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One good thing with the late-season snow?

It’s easing drought conditions.

Just last month, 70 percent of the state was under severe or extreme drought.

And as of last week, only 20 percent of Minnesota is now in severe drought, Minnesota State Climatologist Greg Spoden said.

In addition, no part of the state is currently in the extreme drought category.

Drought classification is based on rainfall deficits, lake and river levels, as well as soil moisture, which can have a significant impact on agriculture.

Spoden said after the incredibly dry summer and fall, soil moisture values were very low. But now the soil moisture situation is improving.

With more than five inches of precipitation this month, the Twin Cities is already tied for the fifth wettest April on record.

Mike Griesinger, a forecaster at the National Weather Service, said that the top six inches of soil is already thawed in northern Minnesota.

The updated drought monitor, issued on Thursday, will reflect the impact of another cold and very wet week last week.

Spoden expects continued improvement to be reflected in the revised map.

Spoden and Griesinger both emphasize that the drought is not over and add that conditions could dry up just as quickly.

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