Drought worsens locally and to the west, while improving elsewhere in Iowa

By: 
Jared Strong
Iowa Capital Dispatch

Widespread rainfall in the first week of November, in the southeastern half of the state, significantly reduced drought conditions, according to a U.S. Drought Monitor report on Thursday.

Most of that area had at least 2 inches of rain — with a maximum of 4.3 inches — and drought conditions were erased in about 16% of the state.


The southeastern half of Iowa got drenched last week. (Graphic by Midwestern Regional Climate Center)

 

The rainfall reversed about a month’s worth of worsening dryness that had pushed the state’s overall drought to its worst in nine years.

But that rainfall missed portions of northwest Iowa that are among the driest, and areas of severe and extreme drought — the two worst drought designations — slightly expanded.

Nearly two-thirds of Iowa is still suffering from some degree of drought, which the Drought Monitor ranks using four categories: moderate, severe, extreme and exceptional. About 11% of the state has extreme drought or worse, in an area that centers on Sioux City at the western border and extends east to Humboldt.

The Drought Monitor makes its weekly assessments based on a variety of weather data, soil-moisture indicators, the movement of surface water and local observations.

Editor's note: This article has been modified from the original version to localize the headline, and to be more specific about the time period of rainfall.

Iowa Capital Dispatch is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Iowa Capital Dispatch maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Kathie Obradovich for questions: info@iowacapitaldispatch.com. Follow Iowa Capital Dispatch on Facebook and Twitter.

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