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Heavy rains last week helped state's drought conditions

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Drought conditions improved in Wisconsin after last week's heavy rains.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, only 8.5 percent of the state's land area is in a severe drought. That's down from 17 percent the past few weeks.

Far western Wisconsin has been the driest. Thursday's map shows two smaller patches with severe drought -- one bounded roughly by Polk, Buffalo, and Clark counties -- and the other bounded by Mauston, Tomah, and Volk Field.

All told, just over 40 percent of Wisconsin is abnormally dry or worse. That's down from 46 percent a week ago.

Numerous rainstorms hit the Badger State last Thursday through Saturday as part of a massive Midwest storm system. Places with the deepest drought got the most rain.

One storm in Galesville dumped more than 4 inches. Milwaukee, Racine, and Kenosha are all drought free for the first time in a while. Virtually everything is drought free east of a line from the Danbury area in Polk and Douglas counties, to central Racine and Kenosha counties.

It's been a mild and dry week in Wisconsin. Afternoon temperatures continue to be up to 15 degrees above normal, in the 70's.

There's a slight chance for more rain Friday night and into Saturday. Cooler temperatures in the 60's are predicted for Saturday.