Drought conditions expand in Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa -- A couple of weeks without substantial rain in Iowa is expanding abnormally dry conditions into parts of the state that were drought-free.

"We had about almost a half-inch above normal rainfall in August. So far, through the first two weeks of September, we've given all that back and then some. We're about three-quarters of an inch short statewide" says Iowa Department of Natural Resources Hydrology Resources Coordinator Tim Hall.

The new National Drought Monitor Map now shows abnormally dry conditions creeping back in Southern Iowa.

"You can go in and out pretty quickly. In the northern part of the state where we've been entrenched in these drought conditions for the last year or more, it's not going to change very quickly," Hall says.

The drought map is mostly unchanged for the rest of Iowa, with severe drought lingering in parts Central, Northern, and Eastern Iowa.

Much of the northern half of the state is under moderate drought.

Hall says the state of Iowa is running out of time to make up for lost rainfall.

"The ability for the state to make up those deficits becomes more challenging as we go from September, to October, to November. We're losing our window to make up significant precipitation deficits," Hall says.

He says by the time Iowa gets to January, the state will average less than an inch of precipitation.

Hall says there is some good news when it comes to easing drought demand. He says plants like corn, soybeans, and even trees use less water at this time of year.

Image from the National Drought Mitigation Center, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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