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Water Summary Update: October rainfall breaks streak of dry months

  • 11/9/2023 6:39:00 PM
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DES MOINES - October’s above-normal precipitation broke a streak of drier-than-normal months that began in March, according to the latest Water Summary Update. 

October’s statewide average precipitation was 3.12 inches, or 0.43 inches above normal. The heavy rainfall in northwest Iowa led to an improvement to “normal” conditions according to the Iowa Drought Plan. 

“The wetter-than-normal October was certainly very welcome in Iowa,” said Tim Hall, the DNR’s Hydrology Resources Coordinator. “Despite the above-normal rainfall in October, the state is still more than 7 inches short of moisture for this year, which is concerning as we wind down the fall and head into the winter months. We continue to need normal to above normal rainfall across nearly all of the state to get us into better shape headed into next spring.”

October rains resulted in some improvement in drought conditions for most of the state. However, southwest Iowa moved into the “drought warning” category due to a combination of precipitation deficits and streamflow, along with the current U.S. Drought Monitor designation of moderate to severe drought. 

A small area of eastern Jackson, Clinton and Scott counties is the only part of Iowa currently not designated with any classification of dryness or drought.

For a thorough review of Iowa’s water resource trends, visit

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.