Nearly 15% of Minnesota no longer experiencing drought

The latest report from the U.S. Drought Monitor shows that despite having little to no snow across the state for Christmas, conditions have improved across much of south-central and western Minnesota within the past week.

Currently, no drought conditions are reported in an area that makes up 14.82% of the state and stretches from the border of North Dakota and South Dakota and to the south and west into Sibley, Nicollet and Brown counties. A large part of Winona County is also in that category.

Last week, the percentage of Minnesota not in any kind of drought was at 1.63%.

In addition, the percentage of land experiencing abnormally dry conditions or worse has dropped by more than 10%, from 98.37% to 85.18%.

Meanwhile, moderate drought conditions cover 40.24% of the state, down from last week’s 44.92%. Severe drought has dropped from 18.01% to 12.42%. However, severe drought conditions still persist in far southern Mower and Fillmore counties, covering 0.25% of the state.

Keep in mind these percentages are valid as of 6 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 26.

According to the National Weather Service (NWS), 1.59 inches of rain fell from Christmas Eve through Dec. 26. At NWS’s Chanhassen location, 1.75 inches fell, and 2.37 inches fell in St. Cloud.

The latest seven-day outlook from Minnesota’s Weather Authority shows little to no precipitation for the Twin Cities metro area. CLICK HERE for the latest forecast and HERE for the seven-day outlook.

According to Meteorologist Jonathan Yuhas, so far, MSP has seen 1.3″ of snow this month as of Dec. 28, making it the sixth least amount of snow to fall in the area since the 1870s. Yuhas adds the area may get another half an inch of snow this weekend.

So far, Yuhas says this is the 12th wettest December involving melted snow and rain since 1870s at 2.23″. He adds the average is 1.16″.

At this time last year, the drought monitor shows there were no extreme drought levels anywhere in the state, while severe drought conditions were reported in 15.91% of the state, moderate drought was at 44.9% and abnormally dry conditions or worse were reported in 70.81%. Meanwhile, 29.19% of the state wasn’t in any kind of drought. That area consisted of the Minnesota Arrowhead, as well as sections in the far northwest and southeast corners of the state. A map showing last year’s drought levels can be found below.

Drought conditions in Minnesota for the final report of 2022. Credit: U.S. Drought Monitor

Across the Mississippi River, Wisconsin is also still experiencing dry conditions, with 66.96% having abnormally dry conditions or worse, 37.34% in a moderate drought and 16.8% in a severe drought. Meanwhile, 0.26% of the state is in an extreme drought.

At the end of 2022 in Wisconsin, there were also no areas in extreme drought, and just over 1.84% was in a severe drought. Last year, 5.71% was in a moderate drought and 32.01% of the state had abnormally dry conditions or worse. A map showing last year’s conditions can be found below.

Drought conditions in Wisconsin for the final report of 2022. Credit: U.S. Drought Monitor