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How much rainfall will it take to get Minnesota out of this damaging drought?

The odds of the drought ending in the next month are remarkably slim, one group says.
tributary between lake harriet and minnehaha creek

Minnesota's drought has dragged on for weeks, worsening to unprecedented levels, fueling wildfires and prompting a bevy of water usage restrictions and campfire bans.

What is the state's path out of these damaging conditions?

The Minnesota DNR, in its latest drought update, said the state will need at least 5-9 inches of rain to "significantly alleviate" the drought. But the rain can't fall in a single burst. It needs to be spread out over approximately one month to more efficiently replenish the soil.

Related: Here's what the drought means for fall colors in Minnesota this year

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) provides a more detailed prescription. The northern third of the state, currently dealing with some of the worst conditions, is in need of 9.19-9.85 inches of rain over the course of a month to ameliorate the drought — but needs a foot or more of precipitation to bring it to an end.

The odds of that happening in that timeframe, the NOAA says, are less than 1%. Some areas would need more than three times their historical normal levels of rain.

The middle third of the state meanwhile requires about 6-7 inches to reduce drought conditions, while the southwest and south-central regions are in need of 5-6 inches.

Since entering the drought warning phase a month ago, dry conditions have only worsened.

According to the latest analysis, 36% of Minnesota is experiencing severe drought, 35% is in extreme drought and 7% is facing an exceptional level of drought

Related: With water levels extremely low, is it already time to take the boat off the water?

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