You probably already noticed some lawns turning brown — something that usually doesn't happen in the Northland until August — but that’s how dry parts of the region have been in recent months.

By Thursday morning, Duluth was 5.37 inches short of normal rainfall for the year, receiving only about half its normal precipitation in 2020. Duluth had received only a quarter-inch of rain in June, 2 inches short of normal for the month. Brainerd had received less than half its usual 11 inches of precipitation for the year, down 5.73 inches from normal.

Using data gathered through Tuesday, the U.S. Drought Monitor on Thursday placed a large swath of Minnesota in the "abnormally dry" and “moderate drought” categories, running diagonally from southwestern Minnesota, through the north-central lakes region and into the Arrowhead.

But many of the driest areas of the Northland were expected to see rainfall and thunderstorms Thursday and Thursday night that should help relieve some of the problem. Light rain was falling in parts of the region Thursday morning.

The National Weather Service in Duluth forecast a 40% chance of thunderstorms Thursday afternoon and 80% chance Thursday night.

Outside the dry areas, most of Wisconsin, northwestern Minnesota and southeastern Minnesota have had normal or even above-normal rainfall in recent weeks.