Spring 2004 was among the wettest springs ever in Iowa. State Climatologist Harry Hillaker says it was the sixth wettest spring in the 132 years officials have been keeping statewide weather records. An average of just over 13-and-a-half inches of rain fell in Iowa this spring. Hillaker says that’s three-point-eight-five inches above normal. Not only was spring 2004 the sixth wettest on record, Hillaker says it’s the sixth-wettest year to date as well. Does that mean the drought is over? Hillaker says there are still a very serious drought conditions not too far away in western parts of Nebraska, Kansas and the Dakotas. But he says as far as Iowa goes, most of the state is quite wet now or at the very least soil moisture and river levels are at normal levels. Temperature-wise, Iowa was warmer than normal this spring. Hillaker says while many Iowans had the perception that this spring was unusually cool, but it turned out to be one of Iowa’s warmest spring. It was warmer than 12 of the last 13 springs have been, and ranks as the 19th warmest spring in the past 13 decades. As for Hillaker’s summer forecast, he says the wet ground will slightly increase the odds it’ll be a wetter and cooler summer. Hillaker says wet soils make it harder to heat the air because more of the sun’s energy is used to evaporate the water in the soil. Hillaker, though, says there’ll be enough hot and humid days that we’ll know it’s summer in Iowa.
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