Drought deepens, spreads across the state
Mud flats are appearing in the Chippewa River as water levels continue to drop after nearly three months of far below average rainfalls in western Minnesota.
By Reed Anfinson
Scorching temperatures this week will make already bad drought conditions in western Minnesota even worse. Highs were forecast to be in the mid to upper 90s until Friday. Wednesday’s predicted high of 97 degrees would be the hottest of the year if it is reached.
All of Swift and Pope counties are in a moderate drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor map released last Thursday. Parts of Stevens, Big Stone, and Traverse counties are also in a severe drought but are seeing severe drought conditions expand. There are five stages to a drought – exceptionally dry, moderate, severe, extreme, and exceptional.
Without rain this week, those drought conditions are likely to worsen. Currently, 42% of the state’s cropland is short of topsoil moisture and 22% very short.