DNR hydrologist Tim Hall says the every expanding drought map shows a much different picture following August rains that carried into the first week of September. “The area where the drought is impacting the state of Iowa continues to shrink,” Hall says. “We’re down to the very southeast corner of the state. There’s a little bit of dryness and drought left — but it’s moving in the right direction.”
The harvest will soon get into full swing — so the rain came to late to help with crop growth — but Hall says it could have a big impact on the next growing season. “You get to the point where you start to think about the rain we get as a deposit in our bank for the next season. In fact, hydrologist look at the water year starting October one. So after October one, generally speaking any rain that we get doesn’t benefit the current year, it benefits the coming year,” according to Hall.
Hall says the drought had been creeping up from south of Iowa until the rain finally help hold it off. “We kind of got to that tipping point where things in northern Missouri and southeastern Iowa were looking pretty bleak,” Hall says. “And you have to run the scenarios in your head and think about whether we are going to continue down that path and then make it worse for this year, and then potentially impact the success of that next growing season. So we’ve seen enough rain that we are beginning to see the pendulum move in the right direction.”
Hall says getting out of a drought often takes as long as it took to get into one. He says that’s what it will take to full wipe out the rest of the drought. “There’s a temptation in almost every case to think that one or two good rainstorms is going to erase a drought that’s been round for two years,” Hall explains. “And these folks in that part of the state have been living with drought conditions for a couple of years. So it’s gonna take a number of consistent rainfall events one after another to slowly erode the drought conditions.”
Most of the extreme drought conditions remain in Appanoose and Davis Counties.