July rains have helped, but drought continues across parts of Northland

Duluth precipitation is just under 6 inches short for all of 2020.

drought map July 2020.jpg

Duluth has already received more rain in the first half of July, nearly 3.2 inches, than it did in April, May and June combined, but a persistent drought due to long-term trends continues across parts of the Northland.

Duluth sits just under 6 inches short for precipitation for all of 2020, according to data from the National Weather Service. That’s better than it was at the end of June, when the shortfall surpassed 7 inches.

But it will take many more heavy rain events to fully recover from the seasonal, monthslong dry spell that has lowered water levels in lakes, swamps, streams and even groundwater sources.

And while lawns have recovered some from the brown dryness of June — and while wildfire danger has diminished some — it will take more rain to help bigger plants and trees make it through the growing season unscathed.

The U.S. Drought Monitor on Thursday released a new map showing the area of Minnesota that is abnormally dry has shrunk some since last week, thanks to several waves of thunderstorms. But much of the Arrowhead Region remains in a moderate drought, with some areas still in a severe drought.


Parts of Burnett, Bayfield and Douglas counties in Wisconsin also remain in dry or drought conditions, as do some counties in west-central Minnesota.

John Myers reports on the outdoors, natural resources and the environment for the Duluth News Tribune. You can reach him at
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