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Published August 02, 2012, 01:29 PM

Drought weakens in Minn., worsens in Mont.

Drought conditions have eased in Minnesota, but worsened in Montana, according to the weekly update released Thursday by the U.S. Drought Monitor.

By: Agweek staff report, Agweek

Drought conditions have eased in Minnesota, but worsened in Montana, according to the weekly update released Thursday by the U.S. Drought Monitor.

As of July 31, 48 percent of Minnesota was abnormally dry or in drought. A week earlier, 62 percent of the state was abnormally dry or in drought.

Most of the improvement came in the central and southern parts of the state. Western Minnesota remains dry, according to the update.

In Montana, 73.2 percent of the state was abnormally dry or in drought on July 31, up from 60.2 percent a week earlier. The increase reflects the development of abnormally dry conditions in parts of northern Montana that previously had sufficient moisture.

Other weekly figures from the update:

•North Dakota — conditions worsened slightly. On July 31, 86.7 percent of the state was abnormally dry or in drought, a marginal improvement from 87 percent a week earlier. But on July 31, 38.2 percent of the state was in drought, which is worse than being abnormally dry, up from 30.4 percent on July 24.

•South Dakota — the entire state remained abnormally dry or in drought.

•The Midwest — the percentage of the nine-state Midwest region, which includes most of the Corn Belt, that is abnormally dry or in drought fell slightly to 71.1 percent on July 31 from 73.7 percent a week earlier. The improvement reflects better conditions in Minnesota and Kentucky, Ohio and Wisconsin. However, other states in the nine-state region, including Iowa, Illinois and Indiana, remain locked in drought.

U.S. Drought Monitor: Click here

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