Drought conditions persist as harvest season continues

Agriculture

DES MOINES, Iowa (WHO) — Rains across Iowa were welcomed by parched farmland and lawns, but central Iowa has a ways to go to catch up on rainfall.

“We will need above-average precipitation on a weekly basis on a month-to-month basis to chip away at those longer-term precipitation deficits,” said Justin Glisan, Iowa State Climatologist. “We need on the order of anywhere from 12 to 14 inches, especially in central Iowa, and those precipitation deficits go back 14 months.”

The drought in Iowa has moved from southeast Iowa in 2018 to west-central Iowa and northwest Iowa. It is now in central to eastern Iowa. The rainfall of late does help, some.

“It helps keep the drought depiction map status quo, not change it that much,” said Glisan. “So basically over the summertime during the wet season, May to June, the two wettest months of the year, if we’re below average, we can start to see drought conditions really expand.” 

Glisan helps to work on the weekly drought monitor map. He gathers data to contribute to the report each week. He counts on reports from the public to give him a better look at drought conditions.

“So any on-the-ground observations that we get from farmers or agricultural stakeholders, or even the general public,” said Glisan. “If it’s about the yard going dormant in July, that helps us match those on-the-ground observations with our model and rain gauge observation for example to be able to get a better drought depiction.”

If you have any weather or climate observations you would like the State Climatologist to know about, contact him with that information.

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