State Climatologist weighs in on Minnesota’s ongoing drought

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Drought conditions in Minnesota continue to worsen with 70% of the state now experiencing a severe drought.

“It’s turning out to be a significant drought event,” Luigi Romolo, Climatologist for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said.

According to Romolo, Minnesota has experienced harsh droughts before—including a really bad one in 1988. He added that 2007, 2012 and 2013 also saw droughts.

This year, however, Romolo said the drought is unique. He shared why that is.

“This could be the first real drought in a long time that has started at the start of the growing season and may extend throughout the entire growing season, so it could have a significant impact on agriculture,” Romolo said.

While droughts are common natural disasters, Romolo said they are unique in the sense that they do not have an end date. This is why this year’s drought could be especially hard on agriculture.

“The longer that we have this precipitation deficit, the more likely we are to see significant impacts to our crops, to our water resources. It elevates the risk for wildfires, so people need to be very careful with burning anything in the state of Minnesota,” Romolo said.

Unfortunately, as conditions stand now, Romolo worries that the drought could worsen. But, he said we haven’t reached historic levels yet.

“The longer we go without precipitation, the more likely we are to head towards those historic droughts that we’ve seen in the past, but we’re not there yet,” Romolo said.

There are things every day citizens can do to help drought conditions like conserving water for showers and while brushing teeth and shaving.

“Every day citizens in Minnesota can do their part,” Romolo said.


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