Drought conditions expand in Minnesota, Iowa

(ABC 6 News) – Drought conditions continue to expand across Minnesota and Iowa, according to the latest weekly U.S. Drought Monitor released on Thursday.

The latest data captured any rain that fell in the last week, from June 27 through July 3. Despite some areas in southeast Minnesota and northern Iowa receiving some rain earlier this week, it wasn’t nearly enough to make a dent in the drought conditions.

The data shows 98% of Minnesota is seeing at least abnormally dry conditions, up 6% from last week, with 57% in moderate drought (up 13%) and 8% (up 3%) in severe drought. All of Olmsted County, and parts of Dodge, Fillmore, Mower, Goodhue, Wabasha and Winona Counties are experiencing severe drought, according to the data. Other places with severe drought are northeast of the Twin Cities.

Credit: U.S. Drought Monitor

Meanwhile, rain was a little more prevalent in Iowa last week, however 99% of the state is experiencing at least abnormally dry conditions, up slightly from one week ago. Areas with moderate drought conditions are down 2% from the previous week, 89% to 87%. Severe drought conditions in the state remained nearly the same at 43% with a small decline in extreme drought conditions, from 5% to 4%.

Credit: U.S. Drought Monitor

Despite the drought conditions, Minnesota crops are doing fairly well, according to the latest numbers by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. As of July 2, soybeans were 29% blooming, 10 days ahead of last year and 5 days ahead of the 5-year average. Soybean conditions were rated 64% good to excellent, up 1% from the previous weeks report. For comparison, corn conditions were rated 61% good to excellent, up 4% from last week.

Topsoil moisture in Minnesota was rated 51% adequate, down 2% from last week and down 13% from one year ago.

In Iowa, soybeans were 25% blooming, 5 days ahead of last year and 2 days ahead of the 5-year average. Soybean conditions rose to 53% good to excellent, up 5% from last week. Corn condition improved to 61% good to excellent, also up 5% from last week’s report.

Topsoil moisture in Iowa was rated 44% adequate, up 12% from last week and down 19% from one year ago.

According to the ABC 6 Weather First team, the next rain chance will come Friday late evening/overnight with a few showers and thunderstorms possible before wrapping up early Saturday. This trend will continue later Sunday into Monday, ahead of a better rain chance, possibly a light soak for the middle of next week.