May has been dry, but not dry enough to set any statewide records. State Climatologist Harry Hillaker says an average of three inches of rain fell in the state this past month.
“Basically you had a fairly wet first six days of the month and a few places since then have stayed a bit the wet side, mostly northwestern Iowa,” Hillaker says. “But certainly a lot of Iowa, especially the central and southern sections, have been very dry now for the last three, three-and-a-half weeks or so, but not one for the record books, even in those drier areas.”
Temperatures in Iowa this May were about six degrees above normal.
“(That) probably would put us in the top 10 as far as warmest Mays, although we will be cooling things off here just a tiny bit here in the last couple of days of the month, so that might drop the ranking just a little bit,” Hillaker says. “It’s actually been a more unusually warm month than unusually dry at this point.”
A large part of the state currently is classified as “abnormally dry” — the lowest level in a nationwide system that measures drought conditions. West central and north central Iowa are “moderately dry”
“Right now, nothing is in an especially bad category as far as drought conditions go, but we’re getting to that time of the year when things can change pretty rapidly if we get higher temperatures and higher evaporation rates because of that,” Hillaker says. “If we don’t get rain, you know, things can dry out very, very quickly at this time of the year.”
The southern two-thirds of the state has “parched” topsoil that needs some rain, according to Hillaker, and recent windy conditions are exacerbating the problem.