Iowa Sees Drought Expansion

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Iowa drought conditions are expanding for another week. The new National Drought Monitor map shows extreme drought in Northwest Iowa's Woodbury and Plymouth counties.

"Parts of Northwest Iowa are, just for the month of June, the whole region's about 50 percent of normal rainfall. In the wettest month of the year, 50 percent is not a good spot," says Iowa Department of Natural Resources Hydrology Resources Coordinator Tim Hall.

The drought map also shows an expansion of moderate and severe drought in Northwest Iowa, with new and expanding areas of abnormally dry conditions in Eastern, Southeast, and Southwest Iowa.

Hall says more than half of Iowa is under some level of drought or abnormally dry condition as the wettest month of the year comes to an end.

"On average we go from five-and-a-quarter inches of rain to four from June to July," Hall says.

He also says July sees a decrease in rainfall, while the demand for water increases.

"The demand side of the water equation goes up during July and August, and that's going to pull soil moisture out--it's also going to evaporate water out of our lakes and lower our stream levels. That side the equation goes up while the supply side goes down," Hall says.

Even with this week's increase in drought and abnormally dry conditions, Hall says Iowa's much better off now that it was a year ago, when more than 85 percent of the state was too dry.

Map image from: National Drought Mitigation Center, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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