Parts of Freeborn, Mower counties now in worst drought rating

Published 2:42 pm Thursday, September 7, 2023

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Portions of Mower and Freeborn counties are now in exceptional drought conditions according to the U.S. Drought Monitor’s most recent update.

The development comes as most of southeastern Minnesota has been placed into extreme drought conditions. On top of that, there isn’t one part of the state that’s not abnormally dry or worse.

According to measurement’s taken at Albert Lea’s wastewater treatment plant, only 14.03 inches of precipitation has been recorded through August, compared to the average of 25.18 inches.

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The months of June, July and August combined only saw 4.33 inches of precipitation this year, while the average since 2010 during the same span is 13.12 inches, according to data collected at the site.

The yearly average from 2010 to 2022 has been 35.52 inches, though the city has seen a notable decline in precipitation the last five years.

In 2018 annual precipitation was 43.42 inches, in 2019 it was 39.67 inches, 2020 was 30.2 inches, 2021 was 28.48 inches and 2022 was 26.01 inches.

The area will remain dry the rest of this week until Saturday night when there is a 50% chance of showers and thunderstorms. A lower chance of rain continues through Sunday and Monday.