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Water Summary Update: May rainfall about normal for Iowa

  • 6/4/2020 12:43:00 PM
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DES MOINES — While rainfall was about normal in May for the state, on average, a wide band across the central part of the state was drier than normal, while the north, south, and eastern edges were wetter, according to the latest Water Summary Update.

The U.S. Drought Monitor still shows areas of abnormal dryness in west central Iowa, and groundwater levels are stressed in that part of the state. Average streamflow levels are normal across much of the state.

"Although there are some areas that received above normal precipitation and some areas that received below normal precipitation, May ended up about normal for rainfall for the state,” said Tim Hall, DNR’s coordinator of hydrology resources. “Overall hydrology conditions for the state are about where they should be for this time of the year."

Pockets of above and below average precipitation were reported across Iowa during May. Western Iowa received between one and two inches less than normal rainfall, while other sections of the state reported above normal rainfall of one to two inches. When taken together, the preliminary statewide average precipitation was 4.5 inches, only 0.06 inches below normal. Monthly precipitation totals ranged from 1.83 inches at Sioux Center to 7.55 inches in St. Ansgar.

Iowa experienced cooler than normal conditions statewide during May with a preliminary average temperature of 57.7 degrees, 2.4 degrees below normal. This ranks May 2020 as the 38th coldest in 148 years of statewide records; a colder May occurred just last year.

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.