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Drought conditions continue

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Drought conditions continue
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Melting winter snowfall won't do much to alleviate the extremely dry soil conditions across Minnesota, even if some areas experience spring flooding, said Greg Spoden, the state climatologist.

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Roughly 70 percent of Minnesota is in extreme drought or severe drought. "All of the snow that has fallen over the winter by and large remains on top of the landscape, a landscape that is largely frozen," he said. "Now the dust remains beneath the concrete."

Despite winter precipitation that's a little above average for much of the state and well above historic levels for parts of west-central and north-central Minnesota, soil moisture remains near all-time lows in much of the state.

Abundant spring rain is needed to recharge the soil. The average March through May rainfall in Minnesota ranges from 6 to 8 inches. "If we get at least that, we'll be fine for the spring planting season," Spoden said. "But to replenish those desperately dry subsoils, we'll have to exceed that six- to eight-inch amount."

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