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Water Summary Update: Last year had above-normal precipitation in Iowa

  • 11/21/2019 1:31:00 PM
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DES MOINES — In the last year, Iowa averaged 42.58 inches of precipitation, 7.31 inches above the statewide 30-year climatological normal, according to the latest Water Summary Update. 

This annual “Water Year” period covers Oct. 1, 2018 to Sept. 30, 2019.

"Average rainfall in Iowa was more than two inches above normal, making the past 18 months the wettest on record for the state. This has resulted in plenty of soil moisture and shallow groundwater heading into the winter months,” said Tim Hall, DNR’s coordinator of hydrology resources. 

During the Water Year, temperatures averaged 46.6 degrees, 1.8 degrees below normal. 

This was the seventh wettest and 45th warmest Water Year among 147 years of Iowa observational records. 

For the previous 24 months, or the back-to-back water years of 2018 and 2019, Iowa’s precipitation was more than 20 inches above normal, making the last two years the third wettest on record. Temperatures for this same 24 month time period have been near 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.