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Water Summary Update: extreme drought appears in Iowa

  • 8/6/2020 1:59:00 PM
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DES MOINES — For the first time in almost two years, an area of extreme drought exists in Iowa, according to the latest Water Summary Update.

Current conditions show nearly 80 percent of Iowa with some level of drought. The area of extreme drought covers about 6 percent of the state, centered over Audubon, Carroll, Greene and Guthrie counties.

"Conditions continue to deteriorate over west central Iowa, with July being another dry month.  Anytime extreme drought shows up in the state, it gets our attention,”  said Tim Hall, DNR’s coordinator of hydrology resources. “So far, average streamflow conditions statewide remain near normal, but some areas are beginning to show low stream flows and stressed groundwater supplies."

Statewide precipitation averaged 2.87 inches in July, or 1.63 inches less than the 30-year climatological average. This puts July 2020 as the 41st driest July in 148 years of statewide records.

Iowa experienced warmer than normal conditions statewide during July with an average temperature of 75.3 degrees, 1.7 degrees above normal. This ties July 2020 with 1911 and 2001 as the 47th warmest July on record. Little Sioux in Harrison County reported the month’s high temperature of 98 degrees on July 18, 12 degrees above normal. Mason City Municipal Airport reported the month’s low temperature of 44 degrees on July 16, 17 degrees below normal.

Streamflow is average on a statewide basis, but there are several areas that are showing below normal flow. Shallow groundwater conditions are deteriorating in several areas of Iowa as well.

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.