MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Despite last week’s rainfall, Minnesota is now experiencing one of the worst droughts in its history.
On Thursday, the National Drought Mitigation Center released its weekly update on drought conditions. According to the report, extreme drought areas expanded by 7% and now affect 42% of the state.
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Also, there are now “exceptional” drought conditions in the state for the first time since the analysis began in 1999. The area is 7% of the state and is in the northwestern region.
According to information gathered by WCCO’s Mike Augustyniak, that’s enough to put Minnesota in one of the 10 worst droughts in its history.
“The intensity of this drought is unlike any we have seen since 1988,” Augustyniak said.
The 2007-2008 drought and 2012-2013 drought weren’t quite as intense as the current drought, but did last significantly longer.
Augustyniak said the current drought is only 3 months old and is still relatively “young,” but it could be the beginning of something longer — we just don’t know yet.
In order to eradicate the drought in the state, 8 to 12 inches of rain would need to fall in one month, or 12 to 18 inches of rain in three months. However, the bottom line, according to Augustyniak, is that it will be near impossible to completely eradicate the drought in the state without “significant winter snowfall.”
#MNwx is divided into regions called "climate divisions," which groups counties together based on topography and watersheds.
— Mike Augustyniak (@MikeAugustyniak) August 12, 2021
The U.S. Drought Monitor describes exceptional drought conditions as “exceptional and widespread crop/pasture losses” and “shortages of water in reservoirs, streams, and wells creating water emergencies.” However, the exact impacts vary from state to state.
For comparison, 47% of California is currently experiencing exceptional drought conditions.