Drought deepens in central Minnesota
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The late-summer drought is deepening in central Minnesota, according to data released Thursday.
The new U.S. Drought Monitor map shows that several counties in central Minnesota are now in a severe drought. The area makes up nearly 5 percent of the state, including the city of St. Cloud. It's the first time since June that any part of Minnesota has been rated that dry.
Overall, the total area of Minnesota rated abnormally dry or worse shrank slightly in the past week, from 85 percent to 79 percent, mainly due to improving conditions in parts of northeastern Minnesota. Fifty-three percent of the state is in a moderate to severe drought, down about 2 percentage points from last week.
The main areas still rated normal are a strip across the Canadian border and most of the North Shore of Lake Superior.
The hot, dry weather of the last few weeks has been stressing crops in several parts of Minnesota. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said in its weekly crops and weather report for Minnesota on Monday that topsoil and subsoil moisture levels had fallen to 66 percent and 61 percent short or very short, respectively.
U.S. Drought Monitor: http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/monitor.html