Drought in Dakotas can be seen from space

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While much of Minnesota has seen fairly consistent and persistent moisture over the spring and summer, the same cannot be said for folks to our west.  A large and expansive drought is plaguing much of the Dakotas, Nebraska, and Montana with severe to exceptional drought quite widespread.  Well, the main effect of drought is obviously the lack of rainfall which has a huge effect on local plant life, and that effect can be seen from space if the drought is significant enough.  So when vegetation doesn’t receive ample moisture, it’s start to wilt, brown, and die.  Well the drought just to our west is so pronounced that when you put satellite images next to each other, one from a wetter time, and one from now, the difference is pretty startling.

On the left you have a satellite image taken from mid-summer 2015, a year that the Upper Midwest and western Plains saw significant moisture.  Now compare that image to the one on the right, a satellite image taken from the middle of July this year, and the drastic differences are very noticeable.  The landscape is lush and green in 2015, but not so much this year.

And the drought has only worsened since the most recent image was taken.  Even Minnesota has seen a dryer year this year than in 2015, which is why our state doesn’t look quite as green as it did just a couple years ago.