Surface water levels in some Minnesota counties are well below historical values. This can be attributed
to precipitation deficits that have accrued over a 20-month period beginning in early 2002. Long-term precipitation deficits
have gripped north central and northeastern Minnesota counties, as well as scattered areas in the south. Precipitation
shortfalls during this period are greater than six inches in some counties (see map). Eight to twelve inch deficits are
found across broad areas of northeastern Minnesota and some counties in far southeastern Minnesota. In these areas, total precipitation for the period falls short of the
norm by around 20 percent. The dryness sharply contrasts with the heavy precipitation received across northwestern,
central and east central Minnesota over the same period.