Dry Spell Impacting Northland Businesses
Lack of Rain Causing Concern in Northern Minnesota
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Right now, nearly 20 percent of Minnesota is listed as ‘abnormally dry,’ including the entire northeastern tip of the state.
Business owners throughout the Northland are constantly checking the radars, hoping for some rain.
“Well the last significant rain’s about three weeks,” said Farmer Doug Hoffbauer.
Thirsty plants and dried up waters making for concerned business owners.
“Every day I get up and do a rain dance,” laughed Cliff Langley.
This year, the majority of northeastern Minnesota is running two to four inches below average on precipitation.
“There are some things that are really being negatively impacted right now,” Hoffbauer admitted.
For Hoffbauer, some of those things include his crop of sweet corn.
“They’re going to need rain within a week or I’m going to have problems there, and we have about three acres of sweet corn,” he explained.
But technology has helped him through the dry spell.
“We use trickle tape and some small emitters to put the water right in the root zones of the plants so we don’t waste it overhead,” Hoffbauer described.
Water levels on the St. Louis River are way below average for July, levels that officials say they don’t normally see until the end of August.
Langley works for a rafting company called Swiftwater Adventures.
“We haven’t had any substantial rain in at least six weeks, so the river’s really dropped a lot,” he said.
Langley explained the St. Louis River is measured is in Cubic Feet per Second, or CFS.
“So right now it’s maybe like 300 or 400 CFS, which is a little too low for rafting, usually we want it to be at least 1000 CFS,” Langley told FOX 21.
That number has caused his rafting trips to move to a different area of the river.
“It’s just too shallow and narrow and you get stuck on rocks and it’s just dangerous,” said Langley.
Where he says it’s safer, but just as enjoyable.
“The section that we’re doing is kind of a canyon, so it holds water really well, and it’s deeper and stuff like that,” he added.
Both men, finding ways to adapt.
“As long as it stays 80 and sunny, stuff’s growing,” Hoffbauer said.
While in the meantime, keeping their fingers crossed.
“We definitely need rain, just for so many reasons,” Langley said.
Both men say the dry conditions right now aren’t so bad, but agreed if we don’t get rain within the next week, things could start looking ugly.