Recent rains have helped ease the drought in central and southern Minnesota.

Thursday’s weekly update from the U.S. Drought Monitor says 21 percent of the state is still abnormally dry, down from 27 percent last week. The area of the state listed as in a moderate drought is at 10 percent, down from 13 percent last week. And the area in a severe drought remains the same at two percent.  The driest part of the state continues to be the Twin Cities metro area, down the Minnesota River Valley to Mankato, then toward Marshall in southwestern Minnesota.