On the Radio: The drought’s environmental benefits


Photo by cwwycoff1, Flickr.
Photo by cwwycoff1, Flickr.

Listen to this week’s radio segment here or read the transcript below. This week’s segment discusses the benefits of last year’s drought.

This past year’s drought actually had some benefits for Iowa’s environment.

This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.

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On the Radio: Visitation increases at Iowa’s state parks


Dolliver State Park in Fort Dodge, Iowa. Photo by DopT, Flickr.
Dolliver State Park in Fort Dodge, Iowa. Photo by DopT, Flickr.

Listen to this week’s radio segment here or read the transcript below. This week’s segment discusses increased visitation at Iowa’s state parks.

After a number of wet summers, the dry conditions of 2012 seem to have helped increase visitation at Iowa’s state parks

This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.

Continue reading

Crop conditions remain unchanged despite scattered rain, cooler temperatures


Photo by cindy47452, Flickr.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported Monday that, despite moderating weather conditions, much of Iowa’s crops are still in poor condition.

Iowa’s corn crop is rated 23 percent very poor, 30 percent poor, 32 percent fair, 14 percent good, and 1 percent excellent. Soybean conditions appear slightly better at 14 percent very poor, 23 percent poor, 38 percent fair, 23 percent good, and 2 percent excellent.

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

2012 drought worse than ’88


Photo by illinoisfarmbureau, Flickr.

State Climatologist Harry Hilaker said the 2012 Iowa drought has exceeded it’s 1988 predecessor by both breadth and severity.

“This one is worse than ‘88,” Hillaker said Monday. “You would have to go back to 1936 to find a drought worse than this one.”

Climatologist Brian Fuchs from the National Drought Mitigation Center attributed the 2012 drought to a high pressure-system that settled over the grain belt and repelled storms. He said the system has strengthened, and could continue to hold out for another two months.

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

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.

Iowa farmland short of moisture


Photo by cwwycoff1, Flickr.

The United States Department of Agriculture categorized more than half of Iowa’s farmland as moisture-deficient on Monday despite an average of 1.5 inches of rainfall last week.

“We could definitely use a couple of inches of rain right now to get things going,” said Russ Meade, who farms soybeans and corn in a farm outside Tiffin, Iowa. “There are some beans just popping their head out of the ground right now. We need to get another inch or two (of rain) to make sure everything that’s still left out there can pop out.”

Iowan’s have not experienced significant rainfall since May 6, according to state climatologist Harry Hillaker, and although the state isn’t facing a record dry spell, high temperatures and low humidity have caused precipitation in the air and ground to evaporate faster than normal.

For more information, read the full articles at the Press-Citizen and The Gazette.