Iowa fields saw little precipitation in March.

Iowa fields saw little precipitation in March.

The just completed month of March was one of the driest in the state’s history. State Climatologist Harry Hillaker says the statewide average precipitation for the month amounted to just under six-tenths of an inch.

“This ranked as the seventh driest March in 143 years of records,” Hillaker says. “You have to go back 21 years to 1994 for the last time we had a drier month of March in the state.”

The statewide average temperature for the month was 37.5 degrees, which is slightly warmer than normal. The month of March featured some interesting temperature extremes. “We had temperatures down to minus-17 degrees on March 5 in Stanley in northeast Iowa and up to 90-degrees just 11 days later in Sioux City,” Hillaker says. “That was the earliest we’ve hit 90-degrees in the state…it came on March 16.”

The dry spell will be interrupted across much of the state on this first day of April as showers and severe storms are in the forecast.”We’ve actually had 10 consecutive wetter-than-normal Aprils, so we’re certainly getting off to a quick start this April as well,” Hillaker says.

The months of January, February and March enter the Iowa record books as 12th driest first three months to the start of a year.

“About half of what we’ve had this year came in one storm — the big snowstorm we had January 31 into February 1,” Hillaker says. “Otherwise, it’s been quite dry so far.”