The dry winter could mean the drought that plagued southwestern Iowa farmers will spread next year. But State Climatologist Harry Hillaker says to quit worrying because while the winter’s in progress, the lack of snow doesn’t cause much impact this time of year. He says moisture at this time of year is really not critical at all, especially since temps remain mild — nothing’s growing and we’re not losing any moisture right now, just not increasing it. Hillaker says while we aren’t shoveling snow or wiping off rain, the ground isn’t suffering any particular punishment from the lack of winter moisture. The only drawback to dry soil this time of year is that it freezes more readily, so frost could go deeper. Hillaker says the only people with trouble from this dry season may be those with shallow wells, especially in southwest Iowa where there were two dry years, and water may be in short supply in the livestock ponds. Come March and April, though, the climatologist says we’ll be needing some generous amounts of snow and rain to bring the average moisture up to normal.