Decades from now, when we look back on the weather in the year 2003, the only thing that’s likely to stand out is the summer drought. State climatologist Harry Hillaker says little else about the year was very out of the ordinary — as the average temperature, for example, was almost right at normal. Hillaker says almost all of Iowa was very dry from mid-July to early September, one of the driest summers Iowa’s ever seen. He says one summer month in particular was close to being a record-breaker. August was the second-driest August on record in Iowa. The state got an average of two inches of precipitation from mid-July through early September which is about six inches below normal. Hillaker says the extremely dry weather could have done a lot more damage to Iowa’s croplands if it had struck earlier in the year. Overall, the year concludes about 4.75 inches below normal for precipitation, which Hillaker says is almost totally to blame on that one dry spell. Hillaker says there are three places in Iowa that share the state’s hottest temperature in 2003. Both Glenwood and Lamoni recorded 104-degrees on August 18th while Osceola had 104 on August 25th. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the coldest day of the year was recorded March 5th in Spencer with 21-degrees BELOW zero, thanks to deep snow cover.
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