Oct 12, 2022 - News

Extreme drought continues in Twin Cities

Minnehaha Creek with no water

The land formerly known as Minnehaha Creek. Photo: Nick Halter/Axios

The first six weeks of fall have been bone dry, plunging much of the Twin Cities into an extreme drought.

Why it matters: Without a lot more rain, we will go into winter with very dry soil, which in turn makes it harder to climb out of the drought next spring, said National Weather Service meteorologist Tyler Hasenstein.

  • Lakes, rivers and creeks badly need the water. Lake Minnetonka is at a 10-year low and Minnehaha Creek is just a dirt path in many places.
  • The upper Midwest drought has contributed to low water levels on the lower Mississippi River, halting barge traffic and further disrupting the supply chain. Last week, a Viking cruise from Louisiana bound for St. Paul was called off mid-trip.

By the numbers: We've gotten just 0.27 inches of precipitation between Sept. 1 and Oct. 10, the least ever for that time period dating back to the start of record keeping in 1871.

  • In a normal first six weeks of fall, we would get just under four inches, according to NWS.

State of the leaves: Drier conditions mean a shorter fall color season.

What they're saying: "Even if we were to get an above normal winter, as far as precipitation goes, the overall amount of liquid flowing into the system probably wouldn't be enough to replenish what we've lost over the summer and fall," Hasenstein said.

What's ahead: There's no rain in the seven-day forecast after a chance today, per NWS.

  • Hasenstein called the winter outlook for Minnesota a toss up, but that current conditions have us trending toward a little more snow and little colder than normal.

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