Northwest Iowa — The recent rains have basically brought us back to normal precip-wise in northwest Iowa. That’s the thought of the state climatologist and the official weather data monitored by KIWA.
According to the weather data, we were at three inches below normal to nearly four inches below normal during parts of July and August. And even before that, we had been somewhat below normal on precip since the first of March. Finally on August 29th, we were right at normal again for the first time since this winter. The first week of September we were less than an inch below normal, and now, thanks to recent heavy rains we are almost two and a half inches above normal.
Iowa State Climatologist Harry Hillaker says that believe it or not, although the last few years have been a little drier, wetter years have been more common in the last 50 years or so.
He says it’s a little hard to believe since it’s been a little dry and we’ve had fairly significant droughts fairly recently.
According to the US Drought monitor, northwest Iowa has had some areas that were abnormally dry as recently as mid-August. Earlier this year, there were isolated patches of the area that were actually in moderate to severe drought for a while, but all those patches of less than normal moisture disappeared in mid-August and have stayed that way.
As far as this coming winter, Hillaker says it’s going to be an El Niño winter again. Eight out of the last nine times that’s happened, it’s meant milder temperatures and slightly less precipitation. But the last time we had an El Niño winter, we got the opposite effect — cold and snowy. Hillaker says he expects this winter to be like the other eight — mild. But as we all know, weather is difficult to predict.