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 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.
Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.