There are signs that our regional climate may be drying out a bit. The region bounded by the eastern Dakotas, western and southern Minnesota, and northern Iowa became significantly wetter starting in the early 1990s. The average annual precipitation over the 21-year period from 1993 through 2013 was about 15-20% higher than the average for the previous hundred years.

For the seven years starting in 2014, average annual precipitation has been much lower, by around 10%, and the average would have been much lower except for the remarkably wet year of 2019. Without 2019, our average since 2014 has about returned to the pre-1993 average. Of course, variability from year to year is to be expected. Next year could be very dry, very wet or somewhere in between. However, if the apparent drying trend continues, there will be impacts including agriculture, summer recreation and even urban water usage.

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