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With a combined 0.48 inches of rain in September and October, drought conditions in the Twin Cities and south-central Minnesota is worsening entering the cold months. 

Thursday's update from the U.S. Drought Monitor show an expanded area of extreme from southwestern Minnesota through south-central counties and into the Twin Cities metro. 


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Extreme drought now covers 6.5% of Minnesota, up from 4.2% in last week's report. Severe drought (the darker orange on the map) increased from 16.3% last week to 19.2% this week. 

Only 20% of Minnesota, mainly the Iron Range and Arrowhead and pockets in northwestern and central Minnesota, aren't dealing with drought. Here's the side-by-side view of drought conditions Nov. 1 (left) compared to Oct. 25 (right). 

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The Twin Cities and much of southern Minnesota is 6-10 inches below normal precipitation over the last 180 days. 

Rainfall deficits cover most of Minnesota, though the areas shaded with green and blue are at a precipitation surplus for the past 180 days. 

Rainfall deficits cover most of Minnesota, though the areas shaded with green and blue are at a precipitation surplus for the past 180 days. 

Since June 1, which was 155 days ago, a total of 7.06 inches of rain has fallen at MSP Airport, which serves as the official station for records in the Twin Cities. That's 11.52 inches below normal for June 1 through Oct. 31, making it the second-driest period in 149 years of record keeping. Only 1910 was drier, when a meager 6.93 inches was recorded June-October. 

The big question now is if signals of a more active weather pattern will benefit drought-stricken areas of Minnesota. A significant storm that could spark a tornado outbreak in Texas on Friday will also deliver significant rain to the Upper Midwest Friday-Sunday, but most models are painting the heaviest totals in Iowa and Wisconsin. 

The National Weather Service notes there could be a "very sharp cutoff" of precipitation somewhere near the Twin Cities on Saturday, which is precisely what the models are hinting at. 

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