Drought 2008 (updated October 30, 2008)
As of October 28, the U.S. Drought Monitor placed many Minnesota counties in the D0 - Abnormally Dry category or worse (see map at right). Portions of the state, most notably southeastern Minnesota, were placed in the D1 - Moderate Drought classification.
The dry conditions were the result of a lengthy stretch of dry weather that commenced in mid-June and extended through the growing season. For the period mid-June through late-October, many southeastern Minnesota communities received less than ten inches of rainfall. This represents a negative departure from normal of five to eight inches in these areas. When compared with the same nineteen-week time span in previous years, mid-June through late-October rainfall ranked below the 5th percentile (one year in twenty) in some southeastern Minnesota communities (see maps below).
Fortunately, summer temperatures were close to historical average and days with temperatures in the 90 were relatively rare. This kept evaporative demand near seasonal norms and mitigated the situation.
Previous week's weather:
The weekly rainfall map for October 21 through October 27 showed that rainfall totals were quite large in southwestern Minnesota. One to two inch rainfall reports were common throughout that region. For the most part, October rains removed drought concerns for all southwestern Minnesota counties. Temperatures for the week were close to seasonal averages.
- Agriculture - The Agricultural Statistics Service reported that as of October 24, topsoil moisture across 9 percent of Minnesota's landscape was "Short" or "Very Short". Of greater concern are soil moisture supplies deeper in the soil profile. Subsoil moisture measurements taken at the University of Minnesota - Southern Outreach and Research Center in Waseca were below the long-term average in mid-October.
- Stream flow - Late-October stream discharge in Minnesota rivers and streams was highly variable across the state. Some Minnesota streams reported flows that were below the 25th percentile in the historical distribution for the final week of October. By contrast, the Red River and many of its tributaries reported very high flows in response to heavy rains that fell in the late summer and autumn.
- Wildfire Danger - The Department of Natural Resources - Division of Forestry classified late-October wildfire danger as Low throughout Minnesota.