By WCCO-TV Staff

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Drought conditions in Minnesota are basically holding in place as we get closer and closer to the turn of the season.

The latest data from the U.S. Drought Monitor show that in the last week the state’s areas of moderate and severe drought conditions across central and southern Minnesota remained much the same as they were when last week’s report was issued.

About 86% of the state is at least experiencing moderate drought, 59% falls under severe drought, and 37% is considered to be under extreme drought. Only that last figure has moved down since last week, and only by 1%.

From the Red River Valley to the Arrowhead, almost all of northern Minnesota is under extreme drought conditions, which means that crops are harvested early, wildfires flare up easily, and surface waters are near record lows.

Minnesota’s record drought this summer comes as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says the nation experienced the hottest summer on record, just a fraction of a degree hotter than the 1936 Dust Bowl Summer.

According to NOAA, the average temperature during meteorological summer — June 1 through Aug. 31 — was 74.0 degrees Fahrenheit, beating the Dust Bowl record by less than 0.01 of a degree.

Several western states, such as California, Oregon, Idaho, and Utah, saw their hottest summers on record. As for Minnesota, the state experienced its second-hottest summer since records began more than 120 years ago. The only hotter year was 1988.

The summer was also the seventh-driest experienced in Minnesota. Between June and August, the state averaged 7.65 inches of rainfall, which is about 3.5 inches below average.