The Drought is Officially Over - KMSP-TV

The Drought is Officially Over

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After weeks and even months of above average precipitation, our area is finally done with the drought. I'm sure some of you are asking why it took so long when water has been coming out of our ear drums for weeks. Well, drought is a finicky beast. The top soil (basically the top 1 to 2 feet of soil) can be extremely wet with all of the heavy rain we have seen lately. But underneath that layer stood a very dry and undernourished block of soil. This is where long-term drought comes into play because you aren't just talking about the soil that can be reached on a day to day basis with rainfall, but earth that is far deeper and takes several days or even weeks for water to seep that far deep. If you don't have enough top soil moisture then there isn't any excess to soak further and further into the ground, that's when you have wet top soil, but the overall ground moisture is below average AKA a drought. Well, we have now had above average precipitation long enough where every bit of soil that water can penetrate is now moist. Here is the current drought monitor for the state.

Obviously, an almost blank drought monitor is good news with just a hint of a drought left across parts of northwest Minnesota. Amazing though that it took so little time to come out of this horrendous drought. Compare today's drought monitor with one just 12 weeks ago in the beginning of April.

HUGE differences with much of the state in a severe or excessive drought. But there are 2 things you need to cure a drought: lots of moisture and average to below average temperatures (prevents excessive evaporation). We had both. The following 2 images show temperature and precipitation when compared to normal for the months of March, April, and May. Remember that the snowfall we had is included in these tallies, just in a liquid totaled form.

Temperatures across much of the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes were 4-8 degrees below average. Combine that with the second picture with widespread average to well above average precipitation totals and you have the recipe for a drought buster.

I'd say that the U.S. Drought monitor is even more pronounced when you talk about the changes we have seen over the last 12 weeks. The drought has completely disappeared from 4 different states and lost its grip on parts of Kansas, Nebraska, and Oklahoma.  But unfortunately, the drought is still raging in much of the western Plains and Rockies. I realize that all of us are sick of the rain, but it typically takes far longer to get out of a drought than it does to get into one so timely and sizeable rains will be needed right through September to make sure we can get through the growing season without any major deficits. But for now, a week without a drop I think would do all of us some good.

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