Drought concerns cloud future of Minn. industries

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Minnesota will need lots of slow-and-steady rain in the next few months in order to shake a lingering drought, the Pioneer Press reports.

The newspaper reports that drought concerns are clouding the future of a variety of industries that include agriculture, horticulture, forestry, tourism and even public water supplies, State Climatologist Greg Spoden says.

Sizable snowfalls this winter may not help much, the Pioneer Press reports. That's because parts of the state are likely to experience "concrete frost" – frozen soil that could force snow-melt water in the snowpack to run off into streams and rivers rather than be absorbed by the dry ground.

Put another way, a quick thaw on top of a cap of hard frost over parched soil could produce this, the Star Tribune reported: "We could have a flood on top of a drought," assistant Minnesota state climatologist Pete Boulay said.

The University of Minnesota has more about how the drought has developed. A U.S. drought monitor map from this month shows much of the state remains in moderate to severe drought, with parts, especially in the southwest portion of the state, in extreme drought:

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