New data are showing the first major improvement in Minnesota's drought situation since last fall.
An updated map from the U.S. Drought Monitor on Thursday rates two-thirds of Minnesota as still being in drought. But that's a significant improvement from 98 percent previously.
And the map shows the severity of Minnesota's drought is fading. About 20 percent of the state had been in an extreme drought. Now none of Minnesota is. Most areas that had been in extreme drought have been upgraded to severe, while most areas that were the severe category have been upgraded to moderate.
The Drought Monitor looks not only at precipitation, which has been significant lately, but other factors too, including soil moisture and lake and stream levels, which have been improving as Minnesota thaws out.
U.S. Drought Monitor for Minnesota: http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/DM_state.htm?MN,MW