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Water Summary Update: Extremely dry February extends record drought conditions streak

  • 3/7/2024 2:25:00 PM
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DES MOINES -- February set multiple records for warm, dry conditions and minimal precipitation, according to the latest Water Summary Update. 

February 2024 ranks among the top two warmest, top three driest and top five least snowy months on record. Overall winter temperatures also rank among the top five warmest recorded, with February showing a statewide average temperature more than 12 degrees above normal. 

February’s preliminary statewide average precipitation was 0.21 inches, 0.96 inches below normal. At the end of February, Iowa’s Drought Plan showed mostly stable conditions for the state, with areas of northeast and southern Iowa carrying a drought watch designation.

Over the past year, precipitation in Iowa has been more than 8.5 inches below normal, and the state has now seen 200 consecutive weeks of dry or drought conditions. 

“A very dry February has wiped out much of the benefit received from the wet January. The encouraging trend that started the winter has not continued,” said Tim Hall, the DNR’s Hydrology Resources Coordinator. “March through June are critical months for water resources in Iowa, and normal to above normal rainfall is critical this year especially.”

The state typically sees increased precipitation, whether rain or snow, during the late winter and spring months. Another dry year following the last three years of drought would be particularly challenging for Iowans.   

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

 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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