It's been a really dry year so far for a large part of the continent. Large parts of the Western United States (including Minnesota) and a giant swath of Canada are seeing tinderbox conditions, with many places in the West and Canada experiencing wildfires.

While most of Minnesota is dry, the northern portions of the state are in the worst condition.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association has a drought reduction/termination map, which shows region-by-region in each state how much precipitation it would take to either reduce the severity or eliminate the drought conditions.

Minnesota's conditions are the most severe in the northern third of the state, while most of central and southwestern Minnesota are in a less severe drought category, and Southeastern Minnesota is in the best shape of all areas of the state.

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Thankfully there is a little rain moving through the region this week, but there doesn't appear to be any major rain events in the short-term forecast that will put a significant dent in the deficit.

The most severe part of the state, which includes Duluth, Grand Rapids, Bemidji, the Iron Range and North Shore, in short, needs a lot of rain to recover from drought conditions. In order to ameliorate, or reduce the severity of the drought, between 7 and 8 inches of rain would be necessary over the course of a month.

The region that includes Duluth and the Arrowhead would need 7.65 inches in a month to simply reduce the drought severity. Longer term, it would take 18.23 inches before the end of the year if spread over the next 5 months.


The likelihood of seeing this amelioration happen is pretty low. The odds of seeing it happen in the next 3 months, according to NOAA are 2.98%. By the end of the year, 2.3%. Not great odds.

To fully eliminate the drought conditions, Northern Minnesota would need to see between 10 and 11 inches of rain over the course of a month, with the Arrowhead region needing 10.75 inches over the course of a month or 20.95 inches by the end of the year.


The odds of seeing the drought ended are exceptionally low, at 0.23% within 3 months, and only a slightly better 0.35% by the end of the year (within the next 5 months).

The remaining parts of Minnesota experiencing drought conditions would need around 5 inches to reduce the severity or about 8 inches to end the drought. NOAA says the likelihood for either of those things happening for areas in Central and Southern Minnesota are somewhat greater than they are for Northern Minnesota, but still not great.

The odds of amelioration by the end of the year are around 10% for Central Minnesota and the likelihood of getting enough precip in that region to end the drought are between 1% and 2% before the end of the year.

Weather can be an unpredictable thing, and maybe the pattern will change and offer some relief. As of right now, it doesn't look too great though that things will get better between now and the end of the year.

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