Pockets of extreme drought reported in Minnesota

The latest report from the U.S. Drought Monitor shows three pockets of Minnesota are now experiencing extreme drought, the worst conditions to be reported so far this summer and ahead of a forecasted heat wave next week — with little or no chance of precipitation during that same timeframe.

The report issued early Thursday morning shows a large section of Anoka County, an area including and surrounding the city of St. Cloud, and a large portion of Olmsted County are now under an extreme drought.

While the total percentage of land in that category is still under 1.5%, the percentage of land under severe drought increased to just over 18% from last week’s report of 11%. In addition, the moderate drought category now covers 70% of all land in Minnesota.

The last time any part of the state was under an extreme drought was Dec. 13, 2022. At that time, the drought monitor reported just under 4.9% of the state was listed in that category.

The entire Twin Cities metro area is under a moderate or severe drought. As previously reported by last week, there are no parts of the state not listed under some form of drought.

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS Chief Meteorologist Ken Barlow says although some places in Minnesota saw 1 to 2 inches of rain Wednesday afternoon and evening as strong storms moved through the region, there are areas that are up to anywhere from 6 to 7 inches below rainfall for the summer so far. That rainfall will be tallied in next week’s drought report, since the precipitation measurements have a deadline of Tuesday morning.

RELATED: Thousands still without power Thursday morning following severe storms, hail

In Wisconsin, things don’t look much better; In fact, they’re worse. More than 8.6% of the land there is under an extreme drought, including areas along Lake Superior, as well as a horseshoe-shaped area including the city of Madison.

The good news is that the percentage is down from last week’s report of 10.3%. As far as moderate and severe drought, the monitor categorizes those as 82% and 42%, respectively. Like Minnesota, there are no parts of the state not experiencing any kind of drought or dry conditions.

Last year at this time, about two-thirds of Minnesota didn’t have any kind of drought reported at all, while Wisconsin had no areas in a severe or extreme drought. Images of those reports can be found below.

As of this publishing, the latest seven-day forecast shows the next chance for rain is Saturday. Otherwise, temperatures will be in the 80s and mid-90s into next week. CLICK HERE for the latest forecast.