Each Thursday at about 7:30 a.m. the new U.S. Drought Monitor is released by NOAA and the USDA. This week, the highly anticipated report shows drought increasing in the Midwest from just 7.8 percent last week to 25 percent this week.
The drought is deepening again in central Minnesota, with new areas of “severe drought” popping up this week between Willmar, St. Cloud and the northwest metro.
“Severe drought” is the middle category on the drought scale, between moderate and extreme drought. In severe drought conditions, crop and pasture losses are likely, water shortages are common and water restrictions are imposed, according to the drought monitor.
Recent rainfall up north is keeping northern Minnesota drought free for now. The overall drought area in Minnesota is roughly unchanged this week, at 53 percent compared to nearly 55 percent last week.