DNR: Rain looms, but so does another dry spell

By: - June 15, 2021 3:03 pm

Climate experts predict Iowa’s drought will continue through the crop season. (Photo courtesy of Pixabay)

Iowa may get an inch of rain over the next few days, but it will need that amount of rain every week for the rest of the summer to get out of the drought, a key state staffer said Tuesday.

Forecasters suggest we won’t get it.

Tim Hall, hydrology resources coordinator for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, said the state is seven inches short of rain. That led Des Moines Water Works to call this week for voluntary water conservation, and a handful of other utilities around the state have made similar moves, or are considering them, Hall told the Iowa Environmental Protection Commission. 

Drought has lowered the Raccoon River, a major source of Des Moines area drinking water. (Photo by Perry Beeman/Iowa Capital Dispatch)

As of Tuesday morning, National Weather Service forecasters were predicting an inch of rain across most of Iowa sometime in the next week, Hall said. Unfortunately, they expect hot and dry conditions to return after that. 

“What we really need to see is normal to above normal rainfall week over week over week over week for the rest of the summer,” Hall said. Normally, the state would get an inch of rain per week during summer, he added.

Expecting more trouble and a worsening drought, DNR is preparing to assist farmers and water utilities, with the help of the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.

“We are very conscious of the challenges out there for our water utilities and ag producers,” Hall said. “We help them navigate through the challenges.”

The U.S. Drought Monitor recently reported Iowa’s drought is worsening.

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Perry Beeman
Perry Beeman

Senior reporter Perry Beeman has nearly 40 years of experience in Iowa journalism and has won national awards for environmental and business writing. He has written for The Des Moines Register and the Business Record, where he also served as managing editor. He also is former editorial director of Grinnell College. He co-authored the recently published book, "The $80 Billion Gamble," which details the lottery-rigging case of Eddie Tipton.