Drought conditions are rapidly deepening in much of southern Minnesota including the Twin Cities. The lack of significant rainfall is showing up in lower pond and lake levels, and in brown lawns which are expanding around the metro.
Rainfall is two inches below average for May at Twin Cities International Airport. If you go back a year, the numbers are even more staggering. 11 of the past 13 months have produced below average precipitation. Precipitation is a whopping 10.1 inches below average since last May. That’s four months worth.
With high sun and very dry air this time of year we evaporate about 1″ from the soil every four days. That means nearly 2″ of soil moisture is sucked from the ground every week we do not receive rain.
The water level in Lake Minnetonka is down over a foot from last July. The dam at Gray’s Bay, which releases water into Minnehaha Creek, is barely a trickle at 12 CFS. The water level at White Bear Lake in the northern metro is down nearly 2 feet from last year at this time.
You may notice the soil under foot is powder dry in some areas. Here at the Huttner Weather Lab, areas that have not been watered are dusty, and new weeds that seem to thrive in dry weather are popping up.
June is statistically our wettest month of the year with over 4 inches of rainfall on average. We could really use at least an average month. So far the weather maps for the next two weeks hint at below average rainfall. Let’s hope they are wrong this time, or the drought may become a much bigger news story in the coming weeks.