Drought deepens in central Minnesota

New data show the drought is deepening in central Minnesota.

Thursday’s updated U.S. Drought Monitor map shows that several counties in central Minnesota are now in a severe drought, including the city of St. Cloud. The area makes up nearly 5 percent of the state. It’s the first time since June that any part of Minnesota has been rated that dry.

Overall, the total area of Minnesota rated abnormally dry or worse shrank slightly in the past week, from 85 percent to 79 percent, mainly due to improving conditions in parts of northeastern Minnesota. Fifty-three percent of the state is in a moderate to severe drought, down about 2 percentage points from last week.

The main area with normal conditions is a strip across the Canadian border.