Back-to-back days of soft rain in Brainerd has lessened the concern of DNR officials as fall hunting season approaches.
DNR Program Forester Mark Mortensen recorded consecutive rainfalls of .97 of an inch Wednesday and Thursday at the Brainerd office. Unofficial reports he heard of Thursday's rainfall were 1 inch in Baxter and 2.1 inches in the South Long Lake area. A Breezy Point radio station reported 1.75 inches of rainfall Thursday.
Mortensen said the precipitation is too late to help this year's tree and grass growth but is a good start for next year.
"It's definitely beneficial to soak the ground up," he said. "The main thing is to prepare for next year."
The long duration of Thursday's rainfall is particularly helpful to lesson the fuel potential in the forest, Mortensen said.
"We want to have it really stay damp for a long time," he said.
By Thursday morning, 4 inches had fallen on Vesta in the southern part of the state. St. Cloud recorded 2.63 inches by 7 p.m. Thursday, Redwood Falls had 1.35 inches and Alexandria had received a quarter inch. An hour later, Hibbing had 1 inch and Duluth a quarter inch.
"Yes, we have rain," said Ross Carlyon, a specialist with the National Weather Service in Chanhassen.
In the Twin Cities on Thursday, scattered showers fell across the western suburbs before a steady rainfall began in Minneapolis and St. Paul around 5:40 p.m., the Weather Service said.
More rain was possible today in much of the state.
The U.S. Drought Monitor considers Minnesota in "a moderate to severe drought stage," Carlyon said.
At the start of August, only south-central Minnesota was abnormally dry "as the rest of the state was actually right around normal soil conditions," Carlyon said. As the month progressed, the dry conditions spread across the state, he said. And in the past week, parts of west-central and southern Minnesota moved into the severe-drought category.
By sometime next week, Minnesota should be out of severe-drought status. But it's too late for most farmers.
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