Aug 17, 2012 at 8:07 am
ST. PAUL, MN (KNSI) - The updated U.S. drought monitor map shows parts of southwest and northwest Minnesota remain very dry, in drought conditions.
The updated map, released Thursday, shows agricultural drought conditions exist in the areas around Clay County, Marshall, Polk and Red Lake in the south along with areas in the northwest part of the state like La qui Parle, Yellow Medicine and Rock County.
"I think the latest projections from NOAA show we need to realize a surplus of maybe 5 to seven inches of rainfall above and beyond normal to pull everything out closer to normal," University of Minnesota climatologist Dr. Mark Seeley said.
Recovery now is important for the crop outlook in the next growing season for 2013.
"If we don't get some alleviation from this, if our soils do not get recharged by say soil freeze up in November then we will not have a very optimistic attitude towards the 2013 crop season," Seeley said. "Quite frankly it's all preconditioned on how well recharged our agricultural soils are going into the winter."
The biggest hurdle for recovery is the possibility of another warmer-than-normal fall.
"Unfortunately the outlook for September, October, November is favoring the return of a very warm fall temperature pattern and sometimes under those scenarios what we get in the fall instead of generalized precipitation, large swaths of precipitation that replenish many areas of the state, we tend to stay in a mid-summer pattern of spotty showers when we stay that warm in the fall," Seeley said.
Meanwhile An economic index for 10 Midwest and Western states including Minnesota has dropped again, and an economist says the drought is ''dampening economic activity across the region.''
The Rural Mainstreet Index dropped further into negative territory this month, hitting 47.1, compared with 47.9 in July and 56.7 in June.
The index is compiled after a survey of rural bankers in the states of Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. It focuses on communities with 1,300 residents, on average.