Capital Clicks

Drought now encompasses 91% of Iowa

By: - September 7, 2023 10:31 am

Drought expanded in central and southwest Iowa in the past week. (Graphic courtesy of U.S. Drought Monitor)

Drought conditions in Iowa worsened last week amid a continuing lack of rainfall, according to a U.S. Drought Monitor report on Thursday.

More than 91% of Iowa is now suffering from some degree of drought, up from 80% a week ago. Much of that shift happened in central and southwestern parts of the state.

Extreme drought — the second-to-worst classification of four denoted by the Drought Monitor — expanded significantly in eastern Iowa. About a quarter of the state suffers from it, up from about 18% last week.

Almost no rain fell in the state last week, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The highest amount of precipitation — which was a mere 0.05 inches — was reported in Fort Madison in far southeast Iowa.

Drought has persisted in parts of the state for more than three years, and the current conditions are worse than they’ve been in a decade. In 2012 and 2013, all of the state suffered from some measure of drought, and in 2012, three-quarters of the state was in extreme drought.

Drought is likely to develop in all of the state this month, according to the federal Climate Prediction Center. Those dry conditions might persist into at least November.

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Jared Strong
Jared Strong

Senior reporter Jared Strong has written about Iowans and the important issues that affect them for more than 15 years, previously for the Carroll Times Herald and the Des Moines Register.