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New drought numbers show 42% of Minnesota under extreme dry conditions

If there is any good news in the drought monitor report released Thursday, it's that the percentages of those experiencing moderate or severe drought have dropped.

KOOCHICHING COUNTY, Minn. — Editors note: The video above aired on Aug. 6, 2021. 

While parts of the state received some desperately needed rain in recent days, other parts have not, pushing some Minnesota counties into an exceptional drought situation. 

The numbers released by the U.S. Drought Monitor Thursday show that 7.37% of the state is now experiencing "exceptional" drought conditions, while last week that number was zero. Among the counties in the exceptional drought category are Beltrami, Clearwater, Koochaching, Lake of the Woods, Norman, Pennington, Polk and Red Lake, all in far northwest Minnesota. 

Reports from the region state that some residents have never seen conditions this dry. There are descriptions of withering crops and reduced pasture areas capable of feeding livestock. 

Extreme drought conditions also increased, with 42.20% of Minnesota now in that category. That's up from around 35% last week, and those areas include swaths of counties in the northwest, central, northeast and southwest parts of the state. 

If there is any positive news in Thursday's report, it's that percentages of Minnesota under severe, moderate and abnormally dry drought have dropped slightly, due to concentrated rains in the past week. 

The U.S. Drought Monitor puts the population in drought areas at just over 5 million people.

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