Over 98% of Minnesota now in drought as conditions worsen further

The dry conditions across Minnesota and Wisconsin are continuing to worsen as fall approaches, as nearly 99% of Minnesota is now covered by a drought and most areas experiencing severe or worse intensity.

The U.S. Drought Monitor released its latest report Thursday, showing another 13% of the state entered at least the lowest intensity drought category, while more than 61% (up 7% from last week) of the state is now in a “severe” drought, 19% (up 3% from last week) is in an “extreme” drought and 1.4% remains in the worst drought intensity, “exceptional.”

While small portions of Wisconsin actually saw minor improvement over the last week, the picture remains much the same as in Minnesota.

According to the report, 98% of Wisconsin is abnormally dry with over 86% (up 2% from last week) in at least the lowest level drought, 59% (up 1% from last week) in a “severe” drought, 21% (down 3%) in an “extreme” drought and 1.8% in an “exceptional” drought.

“We’re really in the fourth-straight year of very dry conditions during the growing season and the third-straight year where those dry growing conditions have actually led to significant drought categories,” Kenny Blumenfeld, a senior climatologist with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS last week.

While the forecast from Minnesota’s Weather Authority does show a chance for some rain Thursday night into Friday morning, that’s currently the only good rain chance in the next seven days.

Some localities have started to ask residents to conserve water, and it’s possible more join that list if conditions don’t start to improve.

While a larger portion of Wisconsin was experiencing some level of drought conditions in July, before that, Minnesota and Wisconsin haven’t been impacted by such a widespread drought since 2012.