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Water Summary Update: Drought conditions worsen in eastern Iowa

  • 9/7/2023 3:08:00 PM
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DES MOINES - August saw another below normal rainfall month in Iowa, with preliminary data showing that the state received 3.25 inches of rain, 0.88 inches below normal. This marks the sixth month in a row of less than normal rainfall. 

According to the Iowa Drought Plan, Drought Region 3 (northeast Iowa) is now in a “drought warning,” with conditions in some limited areas approaching “drought emergency.” This is consistent with the U.S. Drought Monitor’s D3 - Severe Drought conditions that now cover about one quarter of the state. This is the highest D3 coverage since March 2013.

During the summer months of June, July and August, Iowa received 9.13 inches of rain, only 67 percent of the normal 13.56 inches. Drought Region 3 received less than half the expected rainfall during these summer months, making it the second driest summer on record for that area. 

“August started with good rainfall, but since the middle of the month conditions have turned very dry, especially in parts of northeast Iowa,” said Tim Hall, Iowa Department of Natural Resources coordinator of hydrology resources. “All of the indicators are pointing in the direction of continued dryness over the next week, so opportunities for moving out of drought this year become more limited, causing us concern for 2024.” 

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

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.