Severe Drought Forecast for the Twin Cities

Due to above-average temperatures and below-average rainfall, the central half of the state, notably the area around the Twin Cities, is once again experiencing a severe drought.

However, the north and far southern portions of Minnesota have so far avoided any drought, according to statistics released this week by the U.S. Drought Monitor, even if rainfall in central Minnesota has been less than typical. In the last week, parts of the state that are deemed to be abnormally dry have spread north from the Twin Cities into regions southwest of Duluth, although no drought has yet taken hold.

The summer of 2021, when most of northern Minnesota was engulfed in an intense drought that the U.S. Forest Service said caused several large fires in the Superior National Forest, is a marked contrast to the current situation. The majority of the state had its worst drought in decades that year, which prompted several localities to enact water restrictions.

According to meteorologist Joe Moore with the National Weather Service in Duluth, a lot of heavy snowfall and normal to above average rainfall have prevented the north from drying up. “The rainy spring was absolutely critical to actually knock us out of that drought designation everywhere,” he said.

The severe drought the north experienced last year has effectively been reversed by the excessive rainfall this spring, which caused flooding in the Rainy River basin on the U.S.-Canada border. As a result, it is unlikely that the area will experience another drought for the foreseeable future, according to a May climate outlook report from the National Weather Service’s Duluth office.

However, despite the fact that summer began this year with more rain than it did in 2021, dryness can develop swiftly in places that are hotter and drier than usual. And that’s what happened in the instance of the state’s center region.

The majority of our rainfall falls throughout the summer, according to Eric Ahasic, a meteorologist with the NWS in Chanhassen. And when the weather has been as hot as it has, evaporation has increased more more than it would in a typical year. That is how those droughts develop really fast.

On July 20, the Twin Cities’ weather service stated that June was the sixth hottest and tenth driest month since 1873.

The amount of rain Minnesota receives in the upcoming months will have a significant impact on what occurs next. The majority of the state’s precipitation (4 to 5 inches) falls between May and September, although Ahasic said that recent months have seen little precipitation fall in central Minnesota.

According to the drought monitor, just around 1.5% of the state is now experiencing a severe drought, which is mostly present in the Minnesota River Valley and the southern Twin Cities region. A third of the state is regarded as unusually dry.

The development of a drought is predicted for the whole southern half of Minnesota in the U.S. Drought Monitor’s seasonal prediction for July 21–October 31.

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