Could Above Average Snowfall Provide Drought Relief In Minnesota?

After wetter than normal starts to summer in 2018 and 2019, Minnesota saw drought conditions in 2021 and 2022 but moisture-laden snow events at the end of 2022 and into 2023 could see groundwater reservoirs recharge. 

The University of Minnesota soil scientist Dr. Jeff Strock says, “We went into this last season fairly, fairly wet in early 2022 then it dried out and unfortunately it didn’t really wet back up this last fall so any of this moisture that we’ve got from this snow now has the potential to get some of that in to the ground.” 

While the moisture is welcome Strock says that the spring thaw will play a big part, “Some of it will depend on the type of thaw that we have in the spring. Right now our frost depth is about twenty-two inches, which is comparable to last year about this time.” 

“If we get a fast thaw, a lot of that water from the snow could basically run off and recharge some sloughs and rivers and fill those back up.” 

However Strock notes that it is still early in the snow season and should Minnesota see twenty to thirty additional inches by March or April it could be a very different story.