IARN — Western Iowa is finally seeing some relief in the US Drought Monitor.
After weeks of severe drought covering that portion of the state, the Drought Monitor released Thursday morning showed some improvement in the western corridor. State climatologist Dr. Justin Glisan credits the development to timely rain showers last week.
“If we go back to late spring and early summer, that west-central corridor is where we started to see those precipitation deficits start to stack up,” Glisan said. “We have seen a shift in the storm track, and we did see anywhere from 1-2 inches of rainfall and some snowfall across western Iowa, which did allow for us to improve the US Drought Monitor map.”
“We went from about 27 percent coverage of D2 (severe drought) last week to about 15 percent this week,” Glisan continued. “So, yes, some beneficial rainfall there, but we could still use more though.”
Glisan notes the main concern right now is subsoil recharge in the areas of the state that have been the most impacted by drought this year.
“Once we finish harvest, our main concern is having ample subsoil moisture for the next growing season,” he said. “We have depleted a good majority of that subsoil moisture. Fall is when we really look forward to recharge. We’re starting to get into the drier period of the year for Iowa. We would really like to see rain and snowfall events every three to four days, as we expect in the fall, to start getting moisture back into the subsoil profile.”
Dennis Todey, director of USDA’s Midwest Climate Hub in Ames, tweeted Thursday that it’s getting late enough in the year where subsoil recharge will be a tough task.