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Water Summary Update: Drought conditions improving after rainy, warm March

  • 4/8/2021 11:52:00 AM
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DES MOINES — Drought conditions are improving across the state, thanks to more precipitation than usual during March, according to the latest Water Summary Update.

In March, 2.62 inches of precipitation fell across the state,  0.5 inches above normal. Almost 60 percent of the state is now free from any dryness or drought designation, an improvement from conditions that existed a month ago.  

"After a colder than normal February, many Iowans were glad for the warmer than normal March,” said Tim Hall, DNR’s coordinator of hydrology resources. “ The rainfall that occurred during March was above normal by a half inch, and has helped to improve drought conditions."

Drought and abnormally dry conditions improved across Iowa during March as above-average precipitation helped ease dryness. Conditions at the beginning of March showed 52 percent of the state in dryness or drought and 41 percent at the end of the month. 

March was a warmer than normal month, a reversal of the colder than normal February. Overall, the statewide average temperature was 42.3 degrees, or 6.4 degrees above normal. March’s statewide average maximum temperature was 52.5 degrees, while the average minimum temperature was 32 degrees. Desoto reported the month’s high temperature of 78 degrees on March 29, 21 degrees above average. Elkader reported the month’s low temperature of 7 degrees on March 2, 9 degrees below average.

Current streamflow conditions across most of the state remain in normal conditions.

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.