General drought conditions in Iowa have improved over the past month and a small area of southeast Iowa is now viewed as normal ― free of drought conditions. Other areas have improved as well. However, very little improvement has occurred in much of the western third of Iowa. The report specifically mentioned Sioux, O’Brien, Osceola, Shelby and Crawford counties as being especially hard hit.
This was the coldest March since 1975 with temperatures averaging 7.4 degrees colder than normal. The cold weather, plus frequent snow cover in some areas, kept soils frozen across the state for most of the month, thus preventing much moisture from soaking into dry Iowa soils. At month’s end, soils were mostly thawed across southern Iowa but considerable frost remains across the north.
The water summary update report is prepared by the technical staff from the Iowa DNR, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, and the USGS, in collaboration with the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Division.