Forty-three percent of state is abnormally dry

With drought expanding and a portion of the state now in extreme drought, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is carefully monitoring the situation and taking steps as outlined in the Minnesota Statewide Drought Plan.  PDF

The weekly U.S. Drought Monitor map released Thursday, Oct. 13 shows:

• 43 percent of Minnesota is experiencing abnormally dry conditions, unchanged from last week.

• 24 percent of the state is in moderate drought, up from 23 percent last week.

• 8 percent is in severe drought, unchanged from last week.

• 4 percent is in extreme drought, unchanged from last week.

The current U.S. Drought Monitor map for Minnesota is available on the drought page of the DNR website.

The past two weeks are the first time this year that any portion of Minnesota has been in extreme drought. In comparison, the 2021 drought was the most severe in Minnesota since at least 1988, with more than half the state experiencing extreme drought and 8 percent experiencing exceptional drought. Drought can persist over several years and Minnesotans should be especially mindful of water conservation now and on an ongoing basis.

“Precipitation deficits in fall and leading through the winter can often dictate drought conditions leading into the spring,” said Dan Hawblitzel, meteorologist-in-charge with NOAA/National Weather Service in Chanhassen. “That was the case for the 2021 drought and it is possible these deficits in late 2022 will persist into 2023.”

By mid-October, both water use and temperatures typically have declined sharply from summer levels. So while seasonal water use changes may temporarily reduce any need for more restrictive actions, the DNR encourages all Minnesotans to conserve water.

The DNR has taken the following actions, in accordance with the Statewide Drought Plan:  

• Notified the Statewide Drought Task Force of drought conditions 

• Updated the drought page of the DNR website

• Notified public water suppliers in the watersheds of the conditions, encouraging them to implement demand reduction and water conservation measures 

Areas currently experiencing extreme drought will require at least five to eight inches of rain over several weeks to replenish water resources, and areas experiencing severe drought will require at least three to five inches of rain over several weeks to replenish water resources.

Minnesotans are encouraged to learn how much water they are using and identify ways to reduce water use. Reducing use today saves water for the future.

Climatic factors that are used to categorize drought, and the possible impacts observed in each category, are explained in the U.S. Drought Monitor’s Drought Classification (link is external).

More information about drought is available on the DNR website. The website includes a link where anyone can sign up to receive drought-related notifications and information.