August rainfall benefits some parts of Iowa


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August rainfall saved much of Iowa from severe drought conditions, but parts of south central are still experiencing extreme dryness. (Iowa DNR)
Jenna Ladd| August 25, 2017

Rainfall in the last part of August helped to lift many parts of Iowa out of drought conditions, but some parts of the state are still experiencing extreme drought, according to the latest Water Summary Update.

The Water Summary Update is a succinct monthly report of Iowa’s water resources and those events that affect them prepared by the technical staff at Iowa DNR, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, IIHR—Hydroscience and Engineering, and the U.S. Geological Survey, in partnership with Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Department.

The latest summary revealed that while August started off very dry, high rain totals increased groundwater levels and streamflow in many parts of the state. The total area of the state classified as experiencing drought or dryness decreased from over 70 percent at the beginning of the month to 55 percent this week. In contrast, south central Iowa is still experiencing D2 and D3 drought conditions. Clarke county and Wapello county are seeing the most extreme dryness.

Researchers point out that August temperatures this year have been about three to four degrees cooler than normal, on average. Lower temperatures slow down evaporation rates and provide a protective factor for crops in drought-stricken areas.

To follow Iowa DNR’s regular water summary update, visit their website here.

Extreme drought spreads into Eastern Iowa


Graphic courtesy of the National Drought Mitigation Center.

A map released Tuesday by the U.S. Drought Monitor shows that extreme drought conditions have spread into Eastern Iowa, while the remainder of the state remains categorized as severe drought.

This latest map doesn’t include Wednesday’s overnight rainfall which averaged roughly one half-inch, but meteorologist Harvey Freese said it wasn’t enough to lift the drought.

“Most of Iowa had received less than a tenth of an inch of normal rainfall during July,” he said. “The fact that it did rain is encouraging, because it indicates that more rain might be on the way.”

For more information, read the full article at the Des Moines Register.

All of Eastern Iowa covered by severe drought


Graphic courtesy of the National Drought Mitigation Center.

A new drought monitor map released Thursday morning shows that 58 percent of Iowa – more than the entire eastern half of the state – is now covered by severe drought conditions.

Western Iowa has also been bumped to moderate drought status, up from its previous status of dry conditions.

Federal weather forecasters said Thursday that the unusually hot, dry weather will not let up any time soon.

“It’s really unpleasant,” said drought specialist Kelly Helm Smith at the National Drought Mitigation Center in Nebraska to the Associated Press. She said relief “is not on the radar that I’m aware of.”

For more information, read the full article at The Gazette.

Drought conditions continue to spread across Iowa


Graphic courtesy of the National Drought Mitigation Center.

An updated map by the U.S. drought monitor shows a significant expansion of drought conditions through eastern and northwest Iowa.

Rainfall totals in Iowa for the months of May and June were less than half of normal, and what little precipitation the state received has been baked from the soil by a heatwave generating temperatures of 100 degrees or more across the state.

Bryce Knorr of Farm Futures Magazine said this morning “triple digit heat will cover much of the heart of the Corn Belt again today, with only partial relief in sight. While temperatures will slowly cool from the northwest, only limited chances for rain are in sign for key states over the next week.”

For more information, read the full article at the Des Moines Register.