Leaves were curling, bare ground cracking and wetlands shrinking in May.
According to the DNR's hydrologic conditions report for May, west-central to north-central Minnesota were the driest areas in the state during the month, with Ottertail in Otter Tail County receiving one of the lowest amounts of rainfall at .24 inches for the month, a whopping 3.19 inches below normal.
Farmers and gardeners normally count on May rainfall to give crops, produce and flowers a good start. But after receiving heavy rains in April, the spigot shut off.
More than half the state was labeled as abnormally dry according to the June 8 U.S. Drought Monitor, with Douglas County in moderate drought and slivers of severe drought in far northwest Minnesota and near the Iowa border.
Water levels fell in streams and lakes, with seven of the 22 lakes surveyed now showing low and below normal levels, the DNR said. The lakes in the survey that are nearest Douglas County — Lake Minnewaska and East Battle Lake — showed normal levels.
The DNR measures 150 groundwater wells across Minnesota, and 62% were at or above normal levels, while 22% of wells contained low water levels, including a cluster of wells in Stevens and Pope counties.