The month of August played a little joke on Iowans with a cool run in the middle that made it look like the end of the air conditioning. But State Climatologist Harry Hillaker says the cool down didn’t last long enough.
“One thing that we were hoping for is that August might actually be our cooler than normal month since September of 2011, however this late month heat wave looks like it might actually prevent that from happening. The month will probably end up being just a few tenths of a degree above normal on temperatures,” Hillaker says.
With four months left, 2012 could still finish at the top of the temperature list. “We are still on a pace to have a record warmest year in Iowa in 2012. We are about a half-degree warmer than the previous warmest year-to-date anyway to this point at the end of August,” according to Hillaker.
“Still have to wait and see what the last four months of the year brings us, but right now we are on a record high pace.” August was an improvement when it comes to precipitation.
He says the statewide average was a little less than three inches of rain at 2.96 inches. Normal is 4.2 inches. “So about an inch and a quarter less than usual, but historically not super unusual, ranking the 48th driest August in 140 years of records. Still an improvement over July but certainly would have liked to have seen a lot more than that,” Hillaker says.
The yearly rainfall still lags behind normal despite better rainfall in August. Hillaker says the statewide average for rainfall is running about seven inches below normal for the year. “Virtually all that deficit has been just since the first week of May, we actually had been a little bit ahead up until that point,” Hillaker says.
“That’s one reason I guess the impact has been so great, as the timing has been so poor when we have received rainfall. The bulk of it came early in the year, especially March and April and the first week of May.” That poor timing left the crops without the water they needed during key developmental stages. Hillaker says the good news is the rainfall will generally pick up in September.