Drought going from bad to worse across more of Minnesota

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Minnesota is getting no relief from the drought that's tightening its grip on the state. The latest report shows more than half of the state is in a severe drought and a quarter is in an extreme drought. The driest counties are in southwestern and south-central Minnesota, but the Rochester Post-Bulletin notices that parts of the southeast are now giving them a run for their dryness.

The data come from the U.S. Drought Monitor, which is issued by the National Weather Service.

Of course, Minnesota is not alone. The worst drought in decades shrank the 2012 harvest across most of the Midwest. Now it's threatening Mississippi River shipping. If the low water level makes the river impassable to barges, commodities giant Cargill and other ag firms will be looking for alternatives to get this year's crops to the Gulf of Mexico.

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Drought tightens grip on Minnesota

Federal officials say more than 80 percent of Minnesota is abnormally dry. A week ago it was less than two-thirds. The new drought map includes the northern half of the Twin Cities area. But southern Minnesota is the state's most parched region.