This summer could extend Minnesota’s ongoing retreat from drought, according to a long-range outlook from the national Climate Prediction Center.

The agency indicated Thursday that about half the state — including the southwest, northwest and central regions — is likely to find “improvement” in drought conditions through Aug. 31.

Precipitation since Jan. 1 has been above normal over about three-fourths of the state. The southeast has been particularly wet; Rochester’s precipitation has been nearly 60 percent above normal.

The region is making up for the effects of dry conditions from July into early winter. The U.S. Drought Monitor has continued to describe most of the state as abnormally dry or in drought of some kind.

Drought is expected to persist across the southwest quarter of the U.S. through the northern Rockies. That could re-create an advantage Minnesota farmers had in 2012, when drought was longer and more severe across the rest of the Corn Belt and Great Plains.

Bill McAuliffe