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High precipitation has almost completely eased drought issues

With roads flooding and rivers cresting, it's hard to believe that just last summer, Minnesota saw some dire drought conditions.

MINNEAPOLIS — With all this talk of trails and roads flooding, and rivers cresting especially up north, it's hard to fathom that just last summer, much of Minnesota faced dire drought conditions.

"Oh it was looking really bad last year, I mean it was the worst drought we've had since the drought of '88 and really getting concerned by late summer," Pete Boulay said. Boulay is a climatologist at the MN Department of Natural Resources.

But Boulay says right now, it's like the drought almost never happened.

"The wet spell began towards the end of August last year, and ever since then, we've been in an active weather pattern right into right into the spring," he said. "It's just a series of large storm systems that keep dumping a lot of rain, and you want a recipe to end a drought wet and cold is the answer."

Without heat, the water doesn't evaporate as much, and in terms of precipitation, there's been plenty.

"Just because you have a drought today doesn't mean you'll have a drought tomorrow," he said. "That's certainly the case up north, in fact in International Falls, [they] had seven inches of precipitation this month in April and that breaks the old record by 2.5 inches. So especially the northern half of the state, last 90 days has been two to four inches above normal and practically wiped out the drought or what was left of it."

Boulay says the overall wetness has also helped with wildfire prevention as well.

"Last year, the fire season continued right into the summer, usually the majority of fires are in the spring before the grass greens up, that's the cycle of fire," he said. "But this year we've taken a break there hasn't been much of any fires to speak up in the state it's been too cold and too wet."

Boulay says this doesn't necessarily mean that we are completely risk free of a drought again.

"In fact, the drought isn't far away much of South Dakota and all of Nebraska are covered by an intense drought still, it can always creep back into the state it's very possible it's something we'll continually monitor here," he said. "But the good news is we bought a lot of time now."

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