This week’s update from the US Drought Monitor shows more improvement in parts of south-central and eastern Minnesota, where areas that had been abnormally dry are now rated normal. Drought conditions have been easing across Minnesota thanks to the spring thaw and recent precipitation. The data released Thursday shows that the portion of the state rated as abnormally dry or worse has improved in the past week from 91% to 85%, while the portion rated normal has improved from 9% to 15%. About 45% of the state, however, is still in a moderate to severe drought, just a slight improvement from last week. The biggest improvements were in Washington, Scott, Dakota, Le Sueur, Rice, Blue Earth, Waseca, Steele, Dodge, Faribault, Freeborn and Mower counties.