Drought conditions arrive in central, northern Minnesota

Some areas are a couple of inches of rain below normal.
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Nearly half of Minnesota is now experience low-end drought conditions thanks to abnormally dry weather of late. 

Nearly all of central and northern Minnesota has been placed in what the U.S. Department of Agriculture deems "abnormally dry" drought conditions (yellow on the map). 

The yellow is the lowest level of drought the USDA has, although the next level up, moderate drought, is in place (brown shade) in extreme northern Minnesota. 

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Drought conditions are the result of "increasingly dry conditions over the past 60 to 90 days," says the USDA's Eric Luebehusen.

Central and northern Minnesota are running 25-60 percent below normal precipitation for this time of year, which the Twin Cities office of the National Weather Service says is about 1-2 inches of rain below normal. 

The good news is that there will be a few chances for rain through the weekend, although not the kind of all-day rain that many areas could use. 

The dry conditions can be blamed for some recent grassfires and wildfires that have broken out across the state, including a 1,500 acre fire that burned in extreme northwest Minnesota earlier this week. 

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Drought over for most of Minnesota

Nearly the entire state was in a moderate to severe drought, but three months later that's down to about 10 percent. A climatologist told the Associated Press rain has recharged dry soils, but above-average precipitation needs to continue for Minnesota to fully catch up.