IARN — The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is among the agencies examining data from this year’s drought in the state.
Statewide records show August 2020 was the third driest August in 148 years for Iowa. The severity could really be seen in the late August drought monitor which showed 99 percent of Iowa was in the D0-D3 category, the largest expansion since August, 2013. Tim Hall is hydrology resources coordinator with the DNR. He says precipitation deficits of two to four inches were reported across much of Iowa during August.
“The hardest hit areas were the Shelby, Audubon, and Guthrie County areas, west of Des Moines and east of the Council Bluffs/Omaha area,” Hall said. “Some areas there over the last six months are still 8-10 inches short on rain going back to May. There’s some places there where the deficits in rainfall stretch back quite a ways and they are very significant.”
Some stations in southeastern Iowa observed deficits of more than four inches. Monthly precipitation totals ranged from 0.11 inch at Salem in Henry County to 5.31 inches at Lake Mills in Winnebago County.
Compared to overall warm conditions in July, temperatures moderated across Iowa in August with a statewide average temperature of 71.9 degrees, 0.4 degrees above normal. August 2020 ties 1921 as the 72nd warmest on record with a warmer August last occurring in 2016.
“There are different kinds of drought,” Hall said. “There is a meteorological drought, which is typically what happens when rains stops falling the way it should. That’s generally followed by an agricultural drought where you start to see impacts on the (farm) community. That can lead into a hydrological drought, which is what we are sort of keeping our eye on.”
Streamflow conditions across much of the state are in normal conditions. The Des Moines, Skunk, Raccoon, Chariton, and East Fork 102 River basins have moved into the below normal condition since the last DNR water summary update.
Story courtesy of the Iowa Agribusiness Radio Network.