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Water Summary Update: cold, wet February brought more than 40 inches of snow

  • 3/14/2019 1:20:00 PM
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DES MOINES — More than 40 inches of snow fell in parts of northern Iowa in February, while temperatures fell as low as 20 degrees below zero, according to the latest Water Summary Update.

Streamflow was returning to normal levels until the recent March rain and snowmelt. Soil moisture is high, and frost remains in the ground across the state.

"The heavy snow pack and recent rainfall have combined with saturated soils to bring widespread flooding to the state. As a result, this is the first spring in the last three years that has started with no drought in Iowa," said Tim Hall, DNR’s coordinator of hydrology resources. “Everyone was ready for spring, but unfortunately the rain and warm weather and snow melt have combined to bring us the flooding that nobody wanted."

Iowa temperatures averaged 15.6 degrees, or 8.4 degrees below normal, ranking February 2019 as the 16th coldest among 147 years of state records.

Statewide precipitation totaled 2.25 inches, or 1.20 inches above average, ranking it as the seventh wettest February on record. The average statewide snowfall for February was 22.6 inches, making this February the snowiest on record. For the month, Swea City (Kossuth County) reported 41.1 inches of snowfall while Bloomfield (Davis County) observed only 4.6 inches.

For a thorough review of Iowa’s water resource trends, go to www.iowadnr.gov/watersummaryupdate

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.

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