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Water Summary Update: Dry conditions prevail in western Iowa

  • 11/12/2020 2:05:00 PM
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DES MOINES - Rainfall in Iowa was almost an inch below normal in October, averaging 1.66 inches over the state, according to the latest Water Summary Update.

"While October saw some improvement in conditions in the state, overall the precipitation was below normal,” said Tim Hall, DNR’s coordinator of hydrology resources. “As we move into normally drier months, replenishment of soil moisture and shallow groundwater becomes more challenging. We continue to hope for normal to wetter than normal conditions over the next couple of months."

While about one-third of the state is free from drought and dryness, drought conditions and shallow groundwater supplies remain a concern in northwest and west central Iowa. October rainfall was below normal.  Drought conditions are most severe in Sioux, O’Brien and Clay counties, and counties on their borders. Normal to above normal rainfall is needed in order to improve those conditions.

The October precipitation map shows wetter than average conditions in eastern Iowa, with more than two inches of precipitation in a few northeastern counties. Overall, precipitation fell one to two inches short over much of the state. That leaves a swath of low stream flows in the middle of the state, while conditions are normal throughout most of Iowa.

Iowa temperatures averaged 46.0 degrees or 4.8 degrees below normal for October, placing October 2020 as the sixth coldest on record. The coldest conditions occurred in northwestern Iowa.

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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