State: Nearly 80% of Iowa in drought

    Parts of Iowa are facing drought conditions. (Photo courtesy of Department of Homeland Security)

    Nearly 80% of Iowa is in drought, which is extreme in four west-central counties, state officials reported.

    It’s the first time in two years Iowa has seen extreme drought, which comes a year after major flooding. The worst of the drought is in Audubon, Carroll, Greene and Guthrie counties, covering 6% of the state, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources reported

    “Conditions continue to deteriorate over west central Iowa, with July being another dry month,” Tim Hall, DNR’s coordinator of hydrology resources, said in a statement. “So far, average stream flow conditions statewide remain near normal, but some areas are beginning to show low stream flows and stressed groundwater supplies.”

    Statewide precipitation averaged 2.87 inches in July, 1.63 inches less than the 30-year average. It was the 41st driest July on record.

    The warmer-than-normal conditions brought an average of 75.3 degrees, up 1.7 degrees. That tied 1911 and 2001 for the 47th warmest July on record.

    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.