By WCCO-TV Staff

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The drought that’s already one of the worst in Minnesota’s history continues to worsen as nearly 90% of the state is now listed under severe conditions.

The latest update Thursday from the U.S. Drought Monitor shows that more than 88% of the state is, at least, under severe conditions, up from 77% last week. This means that crop yields are low, feed is expensive, fire danger is high, and river levels are very low.

Only southeastern Minnesota and a few border areas are experiencing moderate or dry conditions.

About 50% of the state is under extreme drought, up from 42% a week ago. Under these conditions, crops are harvested early, wildfires are common and surface waters are near record lows. Much of central and northern Minnesota are under these conditions.

The area of the state experiencing exceptional drought, a swath of northwestern Minnesota, saw conditions expand only slightly. Still, this is the first year that exceptional drought has been recorded in Minnesota since figures began being tracked in 1999.

Rain, however, is in the forecast. Meteorologist Mike Augustyniak says that rain is expected to fall over the next five days, with chances for significant rainfall in northwestern Minnesota, one of the areas that could use it most.