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Water Summary Update: cool and dry April sets records

  • 5/11/2018 9:09:00 AM
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DES MOINES —As most Iowans noticed, this was an unusual start to spring in April, exceptionally cooler and drier than normal. This April was the coldest on record, and the 13th driest on record, according to the latest Water Summary Update.

April’s precipitation of 1.5 inches was about half the normal amount for the month. Previous wetter than normal months have offset this dry month, and the state is within an inch of normal rainfall for the year.

“April was very dry and very cold across the state, but a return to normal rain in May should alleviate most drought concerns going into the summer,” said Tim Hall, Hydrology Resources Coordinator for the Iowa DNR.

Concerns remain for shallow groundwater conditions across southern Iowa, and this continued dryness is reflected in below-normal streamflow in several areas in south central Iowa. The month of May begins a stretch of the normally wettest three months of the year in the state, where Iowa normally receives about 14 inches of rain, or about 40 percent of its annual rainfall. This contrasts with December, January, and February, when the state only receives an average of 3.3 inches of precipitation, or about nine percent of annual moisture.

For a thorough review of Iowa’s water resource trends, go to

The report is prepared by technical staff from Iowa DNR, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, IIHR—Hydroscience and Engineering, and the U.S. Geological Survey, in collaboration with Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Department.