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Iowa has no drought for the first time in four years | News

Last week’s heavy rains have eliminated the remaining drought in Iowa, according to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor report.

It’s the first time in nearly four years that neither state is experiencing a drought and marks a significant turnaround from September, when Iowa was drier than it had been in a decade.

About 83% of the state was in drought early this year, and more than a third of Iowa was in “extreme” drought — the Drought Monitor’s second-worst classification.

Since then, the state has had its sixth wettest start to a year on record, according to data from Iowa State University. An average of about 17 inches of rain fell statewide – more than 40% more than normal. Almost half of these happened in May.

That helped end the state’s longest drought in about 70 years.

“We’ve really gone in the other direction in terms of precipitation,” said state climatologist Justin Glisan. “This was a drought breaker.”

The remaining drought was alleviated by significant rainfall this past week. The state averaged about 3.41 inches – which is more than triple what is normally expected – and the highest amount reported exceeded 8 inches.

That led to flooding near several swollen rivers, including the Cedar, Iowa and Mississippi rivers.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture noted significant improvements in the moisture of agricultural fields this week. On Sunday, approximately 97% of cropland topsoil had adequate or excess moisture. That’s almost double what it was a year ago.

However, about a quarter of the state is still abnormally dry, especially in northeastern Iowa.

“If we see warmer and drier conditions in the summer, there is a chance that drought will return,” Glisan said.

Forecasts for the coming week show most of the state will receive at least an inch of rain, with the heaviest amounts in western Iowa, according to the National Weather Service.

Iowa Capital Dispatch is part of States Newsroom, a nonprofit news network supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Iowa Capital Dispatch maintains editorial independence. If you have any questions, please contact editor Kathie Obradovich: (email protected). Follow Iowa Capital Dispatch on Facebook and Tweet.

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