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Water Summary Update: March sees above-average precipitation in Iowa

  • 4/9/2020 1:34:00 PM
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DES MOINES — Almost all stations across Iowa reported above average precipitation in March, with some locations reporting 2 to 2.5 inches above normal rainfall, according to the latest Water Summary Update. 

Iowa received 2.73 inches of precipitation, or 0.58 inches above normal. Soil moisture levels and average streamflow levels remain high across the state. 

"The trend of wetter than normal months continued with March 2020,” said Tim Hall, DNR’s coordinator of hydrology resources. “Rainfall in Iowa averaged more than one half inch above normal, and the wet soils that we had headed into winter are still out there. Along with Iowa, nearly the entire eastern half of the United States is free from drought, with states to our south and east especially wet." 

Projections for Missouri River Basin runoff for 2020 are about 140 percent of normal, but well below the levels experienced in 2019. 

Most of Iowa experienced below normal snowfall in March, with the preliminary average statewide total of 2 inches, 2.7 inches below average. This ties 1974 as the 21st lowest snow total for March, based on 133 years of records.

March statewide temperatures averaged 40.4 degrees, 4.5 degrees warmer than the 30-year climatological normal. This ranks March 2020 as the 20th warmest in 148 years of statewide records.

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.