Counties with the worst droughts in Minnesota

Written by:
March 14, 2024
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Counties with the worst droughts in Minnesota

More than one-fifth of the continental U.S. is currently experiencing moderate to exceptional drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Winter storms brought heavy (in some areas, record-setting) rainfall and flooding to California, offering the state an expected two-year reprieve from widespread droughts, that covered nearly 100% of the state from 2020-22. But in other parts of the country, especially dry conditions continue. New Mexico currently is the state with the highest drought level, covering ​​88.2% of the state's area.

In periods of drought, levels of major reservoirs and rivers can fall dramatically. Groundwater systems are also affected as shrinking water supplies impact agriculture and hydropower generation while increasing wildfire risk.

Periods of drought have intensified and become more frequent in recent years due to climate change. Scientists predict that even in low-emissions scenarios, much of the U.S. will be drier by the end of the century.

Stacker cited data from the U.S. Drought Monitor to identify the counties in Minnesota with the worst droughts in the week leading up to March 5, 2024. Counties are listed in order of percent of the area in drought conditions. "Abnormally dry" is not considered to be a drought, but is included as a separate data point. Additional data for the state overall is also included. Any counties which are not experiencing drought are not included in the list. Counties are listed in order of drought severity.

Minnesota statistics

- Abnormally dry: 46.0%
- Area in drought: 53.5% (#4 nationally)
--- Moderate drought: 41.1%
--- Severe drought: 12.2%
--- Extreme drought: 0.2%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Watonwan County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 100.0%
--- Severe drought: 0.0%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Washington County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 100.0%
--- Severe drought: 0.0%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Waseca County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 100.0%
--- Severe drought: 0.0%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Wabasha County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 100.0%
--- Severe drought: 0.0%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Steele County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 100.0%
--- Severe drought: 0.0%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Ramsey County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 100.0%
--- Severe drought: 0.0%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Pine County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 100.0%
--- Severe drought: 0.0%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Morrison County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 100.0%
--- Severe drought: 0.0%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Mille Lacs County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 100.0%
--- Severe drought: 0.0%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Kanabec County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 100.0%
--- Severe drought: 0.0%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Isanti County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 100.0%
--- Severe drought: 0.0%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Goodhue County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 100.0%
--- Severe drought: 0.0%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Faribault County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 100.0%
--- Severe drought: 0.0%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Dodge County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 100.0%
--- Severe drought: 0.0%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Cook County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 100.0%
--- Severe drought: 0.0%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Chisago County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 100.0%
--- Severe drought: 0.0%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Blue Earth County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 100.0%
--- Severe drought: 0.0%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Benton County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 100.0%
--- Severe drought: 0.0%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Lake of the Woods County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 90.8%
--- Severe drought: 9.2%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Crow Wing County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 64.9%
--- Severe drought: 35.1%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Roseau County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 55.9%
--- Severe drought: 44.1%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Freeborn County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 50.0%
--- Severe drought: 50.0%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Kittson County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 41.2%
--- Severe drought: 58.8%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Beltrami County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 12.3%
--- Severe drought: 87.7%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Cass County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 1.7%
--- Severe drought: 98.3%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Mower County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 24.8%
--- Severe drought: 60.9%
--- Extreme drought: 14.3%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

This story features data reporting and writing by Emma Rubin and is part of a series utilizing data automation across 29 states.

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