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Water Summary Update: April cooler, drier than normal

  • 5/14/2020 1:24:00 PM
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DES MOINES — With average rainfall about 2 inches below normal and temperatures about 2 degrees below normal, April was cooler and drier than usual, according to the latest Water Summary Update. 

In April, Iowa received 1.59 inches of precipitation, or 1.92 inches below normal. Streamflow levels continue to decrease, and groundwater levels show a decline in some areas of central and northeast Iowa. These trends continue the reversal of the extended pattern of wet weather that existed across the region for much of 2018 and 2019. 

"After two years of very wet weather, we are starting to see some drying out around the state, as evidenced by the Abnormally Dry areas designated this week by the U.S. Drought Monitor,”  said Tim Hall, DNR’s coordinator of hydrology resources. “We are entering the typically wettest season for Iowa, so if we receive normal precipitation in the months ahead, we should be able to make up for any dryness we are seeing now."

Conditions continue to improve in the Missouri River Basin, with 58.9 million acre feet, or 83 percent of the designated flood control storage, available to store runoff from mountain snowmelt and rainfall events. This is significantly better than conditions from last year, and is close to the long-term average for the system for this time of year. 

March statewide temperatures averaged 46.8 degrees, 2.1 degrees cooler than the 30-year climatological normal. Red Oak and Shenandoah reported the month’s high temperature of 87 degrees on April 7, 26 degrees above normal. The lowest temperature of the month came from Estherville at 9 degrees on April 15, 24 degrees below normal.

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.