The destructive derecho that slammed Iowa last week brought lots of wind and rain, but not enough rain to improve drought conditions — in fact, in some areas, the drought is worsening.
Meteorologist Dennis Todey, director of the U.S.D.A.’s Midwest Climate Hub in Ames, says drought conditions continue to intensify in the categories of D-2 and D-3, which are severe and extreme drought. “We still have D-3 over the west-central part of Iowa and chunks of D-2 surrounding it,” Todey says. “There was some expansion of D-0 in the eastern part of the state as it is in the drier part of the region right now.”
Some areas of both far western and far eastern Iowa saw drought conditions get more severe following the derecho.
“There was a little bit of worsening around the Omaha area, a little bit of D-2 and a little bit of D-0 in addition over along the Mississippi River,” Todey says, “but not really too appreciable a change anywhere else in the state of Iowa.”
The forecast calls for above-normal temperatures and below-normal precipitation for the rest of the month and Todey says Iowa remains in the drought bullseye. “We’re the epicenter for drought right now in the Midwest,” he says. “The Eastern corn belt has improved some and there’s some out in the Plains, but we’re still the epicenter.”
The weekly report from the U-S Drought Monitor is released on Thursdays. The latest report shows all or parts of 11 counties in west-central Iowa are in their second week in the D-3 category or extreme drought. It shows much of Iowa’s western half remains under moderate or severe drought, while much of northern and east-central Iowa is considered abnormally dry. Only a smattering of counties on the southern and eastern borders are in normal territory.
The 11 counties now shown in extreme drought are: Adair, Audubon, Boone, Calhoun, Carroll, Cass, Crawford, Dallas, Guthrie, Sac and Shelby.
(Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton contributed to this report.)