November 2017 brought drought to Iowa

A portion of the dried up East Indian Creek southeast of Nevada during the 2012 drought. (Carl Wycoff/flickr)
Jenna Ladd | December 5, 2017

Last month was the driest month since 2007 according to state climatologist Harry Hillaker.

Hillaker spoke with Radio Iowa this week and said, “Overall a state average of .43 of an inch of moisture for the month, which is about 20 percent of what is usual. And actually the driest of any calendar month going back to November of 2007.”

Conditions were abnormally dry at all monitoring stations, especially in northwestern Iowa, where some areas of Ida county and Cherokee county received zero precipitation last month. The whole state only saw a minuscule amount of snow for the eighth time in Iowa’s 131-year weather record.  Hillaker said, “The statewide average was just a trace of snow and typically we’d get three to four inches of snow during the month of November.”

While there were some colder days in the beginning of November, warmer than average temperatures during the second half of the month made snowfall even less likely. The climatologist pointed out that there was virtually no precipitation in the state after the 18th of November.

November wraps up the fall season of September, October and November. Although November 2016 brought record-high temperatures, Iowa Environmental Mesonet reports that temperatures for last month were near average.

New green restaurant in Des Moines

Photo by uberculture, Flickr

Des Moines’ Big City Burgers and Greens aims to become the greenest restaurant in Iowa. The restaurant’s owner, Jeff Duncan, made it his mission to create a 100% compostable establishment. Every little detail, including compostable garbage bags, has an environmental tilt to it. Radio Iowa reports that Duncan isn’t satisfied, and thinks the restaurant could become more environmentally friendly in the future: Continue reading

“Chickadee Checkoff” donations near record low in Iowa

A Trumpeter Swan. Source: Alan D. Wilson, Wikimedia

It’s easy for Iowans to help protect the state’s wildlife. By simply checking a box on their tax forms, they can donate money to the state’s Fish and Wildlife Fund, which the DNR uses to preserve species like frogs, butterflies, trumpeter swans and bald eagles.

But donations to the fund, commonly dubbed the “Chickadee Checkoff,” have dropped in recent years and now hover near record lows, reports Radio Iowa: Continue reading