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Drought takes hold across Minnesota ... but it has its benefits

Most of Minnesota is in a drought with precipitation 5 to 9 inches below average this fall. But, hey, there's that much less to flood in the spring.
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Most of Minnesota is in a drought with precipitation 5 to 9 inches below average this fall. But, hey, there's that much less to flood in the spring.

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Rain coming, but drought not leaving

Temperatures will drop throughout the day Thursday, and Friday will be sunny and cooler – the Twin Cities will wake up to about 28 degrees. Then rain is likely throughout Saturday, local forecasters say. The parched metro could get the most significant rainfall it has had in two to three months, but that's not saying much – less than an inch is likely.

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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.

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Climatologists say the state's gone six weeks without a substantial rain at a time when precipitation is key for crops, lawns and trees before the first hard freeze.

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The whole state of Minnesota is in the midst of a moderate, if not severe, drought. Even rain that fell this week didn't help soil moisture much. The ground is still frozen, so most of the water just ran off.

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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.