Residents of eastern Iowa are cleaning up after heavy rains over the past two days. State Climatologist Harry Hillaker says it’s not unusual for Iowa to have heavy rainstorms in late August, but the storms this week were unique.
“When you usually think of really big summer time rainstorms, they’re more of the very intense, short lived variety, but this has been more of a long lasting type,” Hillaker said. Perhaps the hardest hit area was Monticello in Jones County, where officials say at least 200 homes and more than a dozen businesses were affected by Thursday’s flash floods.
While parts of eastern Iowa are waterlogged, other parts of the state remain drier than usual. “Especially the extreme northwest corner of the state, the Rock Rapids area and also from about Storm Lake eastward to Humboldt, Algona, Emmetsburg, Clarion…those areas are also a bit on the dry side,” Hillaker said. “Even some far northeast counties are a little drier than usual as well.”
Some areas of northwest Iowa are 5 to 6 inches below the normal amount of rainfall for this time of year. “What’s kind of been the saving grace, why it really hasn’t caused any major problems, is all this cool weather we’ve had. It’s greatly reduced how much moisture the crops need to progress,” Hillaker said.
Eastern Iowa should get a chance to dry out. Hillaker says cooler and drier weather is in store for the weekend and next week.