Capital Clicks

Drought retreats in Iowa, except in northwest

By: - November 10, 2022 5:09 pm

The most severe drought conditions slightly worsened in northwest Iowa. (Graphic courtesy of U.S. Drought Monitor)

Widespread rainfall last week in the southeastern half of the state significantly reduced drought conditions, according to a U.S. Drought Monitor report on Thursday.

Most of that area had at least 2 inches of rain — with a maximum of 4.3 inches — and drought conditions were erased in about 16% of the state.

The southeastern half of Iowa got drenched last week. (Graphic by Midwestern Regional Climate Center)

The rainfall reversed about a month’s worth of worsening dryness that had pushed the state’s overall drought to its worst in nine years.

But that rainfall missed portions of northwest Iowa that are among the driest, and areas of severe and extreme drought — the two worst drought designations — slightly expanded.

Nearly two-thirds of Iowa is still suffering from some degree of drought, which the Drought Monitor ranks using four categories: moderate, severe, extreme and exceptional. About 11% of the state has extreme drought or worse, in an area that centers on Sioux City at the western border and extends east to Humboldt.

The Drought Monitor makes its weekly assessments based on a variety of weather data, soil-moisture indicators, the movement of surface water and local observations.

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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.