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Drought extends to three months; storms damage crops

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Winds gusting to over 70 mph in Pope, Stevens, and Swift counties bent over or flattened corn stalks Tuesday, July 25. It brought just 78 hundredths of an inch of rain to Benson but 4 inches to the Glenwood area.

By Reed Anfinson

Minnesota’s fields are showing the impact of three months of below average rainfalls. There are very uneven row heights in corn fields and there are still clear pathways between the rows of soybeans when they should be lush canopies covering them.

The three-month period from May through July was the third driest on record for the Benson area. The area received 5.08 inches of rain in May, June, and July. During the three-month period, the Benson area receives 11.25 inches of rain on average; this year it received only 45% of that average.

With just 55 hundredths of an inch of rain, May was the third driest on record after the 13 hundredths recorded in May 1976 and the 41 hundredths inf May 2009.

June’s 1.67 inches of rain placed it as the seventh driest on record. June 1973 holds the record as the driest with just 65 hundredths of an inch of rain.

However, with only 2.22 inches of rain in May and June combined, Benson broke the previous record for the driest May to June period of 2.56 inches set in 2006.

Drought conditions have spread across the state with the worst hit counties in the east and southeastern areas of the state, which are seeing an extreme drought. Western Minnesota, including Swift and Pope counties, are in a moderate drought. However, to the west, half of Stevens County and much of Big Stone, Traverse, and Grant counties are in a severe drought.

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