Drought situation worsening in MinnesotaMinnesota Weather
-- Minnesota's getting drier by the day. There's extreme drought now in several southern Minnesota counties -- in the southwestern corner of the state and from the lower Minnesota River Valley down to Iowa.
Minnesota's getting drier by the day. There's extreme drought now in several southern Minnesota counties -- in the southwestern corner of the state and from the lower Minnesota River Valley down to Iowa.
The U.S. Drought Monitor says the worsening situation means more than half of the state is drier than normal, with 63-percent of the state's topsoil moisture content now said to be short or very short. Abnormally dry conditions now extend across the lower half of Minnesota and experts say the situation has been accelerated by hot temperatures and a lack of rain over the past 11 weeks.
More than a dozen small fires continue to burn across northeastern Minnesota, despite a smattering of rain in recent hours. Firefighters have the largest of the forest fires, the Cummings Lake Fire -- at about 50-acres, about two-thirds contained. Superior National Forest officials are restricting the use of campfires, charcoal or wood-burning camp stoves. For now, they are only allowed between 7pm and midnight within the BWCA. There's also a growing list of closures throughout the area -- which can be found online at fs.usda.gov/superior.
Over half-a-dozen fires now dot the forests of northeastern Minnesota. Firefighters in Superior National Forest have been dropping water on the Wooden Leg Fire, which is small but located near a blowdown area which could spark easily. Becca Manlove with the U.S. Forest Service says they evacuated campers in the Ensign Lake area because they can't put firefighters on the ground there because it's too dangerous. Several fires were sparked by lightning strikes during storms on Tuesday. The Cummings Lake Fire northwest of Ely has charred more than 50 acres now but is 60-percent contained, at last check.
Corn conditions remained mostly steady despite worsening drought, according to the latest crop report. The USDA says temperatures were once again above normal with rainfall minimal in most areas. Bill Gordon from Worthington sees good and bad areas of beans and corn. Gordon says it won't be a horrible year in southwestern Minnesota but "definitely a down year." Eighty-four-percent of the state's sweet corn crop has been harvested and even sugar beets are now being brought in from the fields.