Drought: Houses sink in dry ground


The drought gripping the Midwest continues to claim casualties – including sinking homes, MPR reports.

Homeowners from Rochester, Minn., to Sioux Falls, S.D., have reported shifting foundations and cracks in basements and walls, a problem made worse by dry weather, MPR reports.

MPR visited with a couple in Waseca, whose home sits on soil rich with peat moss and clay that has shrunk without moisture and created gaps between foundations and the ground.

"I'll be honest, I cried," Shannon Cliff told MPR. "There isn't any type of insurance that we could even buy for this."

KARE 11 interviewed a Waseca man last month who had spent $40,000 repairing foundation issues experts told him were caused by dry, cracked soil.

Much of the nation is experiencing one of the nation's longest dry spells in decades. Experts say it would take huge amounts of snowfall to ease the suffering of farmers and ranchers, the Associated Press reports.

In Minnesota, shallow wells are drying up as the drought drags on.

The U.S. Drought Monitor says that 83 percent of Minnesota is suffering "severe" drought, and about 25 percent of the state was suffering "extreme" drought.

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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.

Drought stifles crop expectations

Minnesota’s record dry season has area farmers worried about next year’s crops. MPR says if the drought conditions carry over into the spring, farmers won’t have enough moisture to water a normal amount of crops.