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Many Minnesota lakes and rivers at historic low points with no end to drought in sight


By John Lauritsen

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    COON RAPIDS, Minnesota (WCCO) — With nearly 55% of the state now in severe drought, many Minnesota lakes and rivers are at historic low points.

Near Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park, Becky Little is seeing a part of the Mississippi River she never thought she’d see. She’s been coming here for years. But just like her lawn at home, the river is as dry as she’s ever seen it.

“I’ve never been able to walk here,” Little said. “I think it’s a little sad. I mean, it’s the ‘Mighty Mississippi.’ It’s not flowing like it should be, I think.”

With no significant rainfall in the forecast, there’s concern as to just how low it can go.

“We’ve had three serious droughts in a row here in Minnesota and that certainly isn’t normal,” said State Climatologist Luigi Romolo.

Romolo says we are getting close to surpassing the drought of 2021. The difference here is that we got more rain in August and September. This is why a number of cities are once again turning to lawn-watering restrictions.

“Don’t even water it at all for a while unless it’s a new sod, maybe,” said Romolo. “Don’t run the water when you’re brushing your teeth or shaving. Take shorter showers.”

The DNR has also suspended more than 100 surface water permits over the past seven weeks, due to drought.

“Until we have consistent rainfall, there’s no end to this drought in sight at the moment,” Romolo said. “That’s a worrying thought, because … how do you prepare for that?”

Experts say the best time to water your lawn or new sod is overnight or in the early morning hours. Evaporation is highest during the daytime hours, so your lawn likely won’t benefit if you water then.

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