Severe drought conditions reported across central, east-central Minnesota

This week’s drought report shows dry conditions are continuing to worsen across Minnesota.

Information released Thursday morning from the U.S. Drought Monitor shows severe drought conditions are being reported in multiple central and east-central areas in the state, including Stearns, Benton, Sherburne, Mille Lacs, Kanabec, Isanti, Chisago and Pine counties.

Moderate drought conditions are widespread, ranging from the southern Twin Cities suburbs to most of the North Shore, as well as far western Minnesota.

As of this week’s report, more than 77% of the state was experiencing abnormally dry conditions. Of that, 2.1% was in the severe drought category.

Although some rain fell this past weekend across the Midwest, there was little improvement in conditions. Parts of the Midwest are seeing browning and stressed vegetation, according to the report, and some farmers are now using supplemental food for livestock due to the low amount of grass available.

Since May 15, the Twin Cities has only gotten .26 inches of rain – the least to fall during this time frame since records began being kept in 1871, according to the National Weather Service. The agency says the second-lowest total was in 1988 when 0.62 inches fell. 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS Chief Meteorologist Ken Barlow says that was a record year for drought conditions.

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Last week, moderate drought conditions were widely reported across both Minnesota and Wisconsin, but no severe drought conditions were found across the state.

A year ago, less than 2% of Minnesota was seeing abnormally dry conditions.

In Wisconsin, moderate drought conditions have expanded but no severe drought reports have been made so far. As of this week, nearly 91% of the state had at least abnormally dry conditions, with just over 46% experiencing a moderate drought.

Last week, 88% of the state had abnormally dry conditions, with just over 25% of land in a moderate drought.