State Climatologist Harry Hillaker says August was warmer and wetter than normal.
“On the rainfall end of things for August, most of Iowa quite wet, statewide averaging a little over six inches of rainfall for the month,” Hillaker says, “not quite two inches greater than usual for this time of the year.”
Last month’s rainfall patterns were remarkably similar to what happened in Iowa in July, according to Hillaker.
“In August, certainly most of the state on the wet side of normal, but some areas, especially the far northwest — locations like Spencer, Sheldon, Sibley, Spirit Lake area — only about half of normal rainfall during the month of August and they were relatively dry up in that part of the state in July as well,” Hillaker says. “And a few other scattered areas of the state, parts of south central and even northeast Iowa where the flooding was, there were some parts of even up in that area that were a little bit below normal on rainfall.”
Flash flooding hit sections of northeast Iowa last week. Decorah “had the most rain for the month,” according to Hillaker, with 13.74 inches recorded five miles southeast of Decorah. That’s three times the “usual” amount for that area in August, he says.
“There were some parts of east central and even far southwest Iowa also very, very wet where we had some double-digit rainfall totals (for the month) of10 inches or more,” Hillaker says.
Temperatures throughout the state were about one degree above normal.
“Although this year it was actually our coolest of the three summer months,” Hillaker says. “June was the warmest one, which is somewhat unusual. July came in a close second and August kind of a distant third as far as summer heat this time around, but the summer as a whole a bit on the warm side of usual, mostly because of June.”
Hillaker says there’s “not much correlation” between weather patterns of the summer as Iowa transitions to fall — meaning Hillaker is hinting this nearly-perfect weather as Iowa heads into the Labor Day holiday won’t last for long.
“After a few more relatively cool days jere to start off September with, the first full week of the month, basically starting Labor Day, looks to be getting back on the warmer and more humid side of things once again,” Hillaker says, “and that pattern continuing maybe the first week, week-and-a-half beyond Labor Day.”
In about half of most years, the tornado season is basically over on September 1, but Hillaker warns Iowans to be wary. Last year, 19 tornadoes were reported in Iowa in November and two tornadoes touched down in Iowa in December.