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Dry Area In Western Iowa Expands

Lincoln, Nebraska — The new report from the U.S. Drought Monitor shows more Iowa counties now showing dry conditions.

The Iowa DNR’s Tim Hall says the negative outweighs the positive in the report.

He says the state had a little bit of improvement in one area — but mostly the state had degradation or increasing drought in other areas. He says the driest area continues to be in western Iowa, around Carroll, Greene, Guthrie, and Audubon counties and in the partial counties around there. He says there’s a little bit of D-2 drought in Plymouth County up here in northwest Iowa, which just spills into southern Sioux County. He says those two areas are the driest at this time.

Hall says the dry conditions have started to spread to the east, with exceptional dryness as far east as Linn County, and then also along the river. He says about half the state or maybe a little more is shown in some form of dryness and drought.

Hall says the impact of the dry areas can also be seen in satellite images of the crops. He says, “There’s a tool out there called VegDRI — which also comes from the drought monitor folks — and they’re actually looking at visual indications of stress in vegetation. And that VegDRI map lines up pretty closely with where we’ve seen the precipitation deficits.”

He says the good news for the western areas that are dry is the impact right now isn’t hitting water supplies. He says he thinks because of the exceptionally wet couple of years we had coming into this year, that we’re still doing okay on the groundwater side. According to Hall, right now it’s primarily an agricultural surface water phenomenon.

Hall says the precipitation deficit is a concern because we are soon going to be heading out of the wettest months of the year, and could be behind in groundwater going into the winter.

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