Minnesota's drought reaches levels not seen since 1988 and the Dust Bowl
August 19, 2021
Entire channels of the Mississippi River are caked dry. Rocks, riverbeds and islands of the St. Croix and Minnesota rivers are visible for the first time in decades. Dozens of streams are at their lowest recorded levels since at least 1988, or even the Dust Bowl.
On Wednesday, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) put much of the state in a "restricted phase" as the drought continues to get worse. That means water utilities and suppliers will need to cut down the total amount of water used to no more than 25% above what they used in January.
Parts of Minnesota have even slipped into the most severe level - "exceptional drought" - for the first time since the U.S. Drought Monitor began ranking droughts by four levels of intensity. The ranking system wasn't around during the Dust Bowl, but meteorologists believe that and the drought of 1988 might be the only time Minnesota has been this dry.