Minnesota, Wisconsin see decrease in extreme drought, increase in areas not seeing any dry conditions

Although some parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin are still seeing extreme or even exceptional drought levels, there are now areas in both states that aren’t reporting any kind of abnormally dry conditions.

According to Thursday’s report from the U.S. Drought Monitor, parts of both states saw rainfall totals ranging from 2 to 5 inches during the past week. Some of those systems brought severe storms that brought large hail, damaging thousands of homes and crops.

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In Minnesota, extreme drought conditions dropped from last week’s percentage of 2.83% to 1.1%. Areas surrounding St. Cloud, as well as parts of Crow Wing and Aitkin Counties, are no longer seeing extreme drought conditions but are still under a severe drought. Although a section of southeast Minnesota is still seeing extreme drought, the area has significantly lessened, especially in Olmsted County.

In addition, a large part of Kandiyohi County and the western border of Meeker County are now no longer seeing abnormally dry conditions, totaling 0.85% of the state. Minnesota hasn’t seen any areas not reporting dry conditions since the report that was issued on July 4.

By percentage, severe drought conditions cover 22.98% of Minnesota, while moderate conditions are reported across 72.67%. Those figures are down from last week’s report of 33.99% and 79.78%, respectively.

In 2022, there were no parts of Minnesota experiencing extreme drought, and only 2.3% of the state was seeing a severe drought. In addition, 12.5% of the state was under a moderate drought and 27.19% had abnormally dry conditions.

Despite the rainfall reported across the region, northern parts of Douglas and Bayfield counties along the South Shore of Lake Superior in Wisconsin are seeing exceptional and extreme drought conditions expand. Land area under exceptional drought conditions is still under 1%, but that percentage has increased from last week’s report of 0.32%.

However, a large part of St. Croix County, as well as smaller areas of Pierce and Dunn Counties, aren’t seeing any dry conditions, joining a section of the northeast part of the state that includes Oconto, Marinette, Shawano and Brown Counties, totaling 3.31%.

Meanwhile, extreme drought conditions decreased from 17.96% to 11.29%, with conditions improving across southwest Wisconsin. Areas in moderate drought decreased from 82.18% to 78.35%, while severe drought conditions lowered from 47% to 42.85%.

A year ago, at this time, there were no areas of Wisconsin in either the exceptional or extreme drought, and severe drought was at less than 2.55%. Moderate drought conditions covered exactly 13% of the state, while 36.86% of land was seeing abnormally dry conditions.

Chief Meteorologist Ken Barlow says there is no rain within sight for the next week, meaning dry conditions could worsen, especially with temperatures predicted to reach the mid-90s throughout this weekend and into the middle of next week.

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CLICK HERE for current conditions, HERE for the seven-day forecast and HERE for an interactive radar.