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Iowa drought is now worst in a decade

By: - August 31, 2023 3:06 pm

Extreme drought expanded significantly in northeast Iowa. (Courtesy of U.S. Drought Monitor)

Overall dryness in Iowa expanded last week amid unrelenting heat and a lack of rainfall and is now worse than it’s been since March 2013, according to a Thursday report by the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Drought conditions eclipsed their previous worst of this year, which occurred in late June and early July. Last week averaged about 10 degrees above normal in Iowa, and rainfall was about one-fifth of what is normally expected.

Another dry, hot streak is expected to go for days starting Saturday, with temperatures in some places nearing 100 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

About 80% of the state is in some measure of drought, and about 18% is suffering from extreme drought, the second-to-worst classification of four.

Areas of extreme drought more than tripled in size in the past week and mostly occurred in northeast Iowa, where it affects all or parts of about two dozen counties.

This time last year, 40% of state was suffering from some measure of drought, and 2% was extreme.

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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.