Drought conditions creeping into western Minnesota; June, July both short of rain

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Western Swift County is now in an early drought stage, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Crops starting to show stress, yards turning brown, water levels falling in lakes and streams – all signs that the area has seen a lack of rain over the past weeks while experiencing very warm temperatures.

June and July are the two wettest month of the year by average, but both came up short of rainfall. Combined they see an average of 7.95 inches rain, yet this year the total was 4.59 inches – 3.36 inches below average.

May saw 3.64 inches, nearly half an inch above average of 3.15 inches, giving crops a boost to start the growing season, but since then drier weather has persisted.

Abnormally dry conditions, the first level of a drought, have extended into the western edge of Swift County. But all of Traverse, Big Stone, Lac qui Parle, Yellow Medicine, and Redwood counties are now abnormally dry. Chippewa County with the exception of the far northeastern corner is also abnormally dry.

Drought conditions in North Dakota and South Dakota have deepened this spring and summer, and now cover much of both states. In western North Dakota there are pockets rated as in an exceptional drought, the most severe rating given by the U.S. Drought Monitor. Large areas of both states are suffering severe to extreme drought conditions

But for Minnesota there is some promising news this week. There is a slight possibility of rain for Tuesday night but the chance of rain increases 70 percent Wednesday night into Thursday.

The front bringing the rain will also bring cooler temperatures with the high Thursday maybe not reaching 70 degrees. The last time the high didn’t reach 70 degrees was July 13 when the high was 68. For most of the first 10 days of August the National Weather Services is forecasting highs to be in the 70s....
 

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