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Dry conditions improving in Iowa, Drought Monitor says

IARN — Thursday’s US Drought Monitor showed some good news for subsoil moisture in parts of Iowa.

Iowa State Climatologist Dr. Justin Glisan tells the Iowa Agribusiness Radio Network that a large area of central-to-eastern Iowa has seen improvement from previous drought conditions. He credits timely rain and moisture over the last week for the latest positive update.

“We had some measurable snow and a snow squall, and we also had some cold frontal systems move through that brought measurable rainfall across the state,” Glisan said. “Where we saw improvement is eastern Iowa and the east-central corridor and Des Moines. A little southwest we saw some improvement in the D2 severe drought conditions, about four percent improvement. Where we saw the greatest improvement was that D0 – or abnormal dryness – in eastern and east-central Iowa.”

There wasn’t much change in the western part of the state in the report. Glisan notes that the same pocket of extreme drought from the last couple of weeks is still occurring in far northwest Iowa. Nine counties are included in that D3 region: Plymouth, Cherokee, Sioux, O’Brien, Clay, Palo Alto, Lyon, Osceola, and Dickinson.

“There are really small slivers of improvement in that D3 region,” Glisan said. “This might be an artifact of how the map is drawn in that GIS interface, so it could be a relic as opposed to widespread improvement, as the storm track has remained south of that northwestern corner where we have seen the driest conditions. That’s where we still have that D3 extreme drought corridor that is covering about four-to-five percent of that part of the state.”

The majority of western Iowa remains in the D2 severe drought category with not much change week/week. The latest US Drought Monitor can be viewed by visiting the Iowa Agribusiness Radio Network.

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