It appears the long-running drought in western Iowa will continue running well into 2022 as experts predict below-normal flows for the Missouri River basin this spring and summer.
Doug Kluck, the Central Region climate service director for the National Weather Service, says soil moisture levels are well under average across the entire region. “It’s all below normal, pretty much everywhere,” Kluck says. “Portions of the Dakotas have a little bit of soil moisture in them but going into spring, we’re really focusing on getting help from spring rainfall at this point. Fall and winter didn’t help us out.”
Kluck predicts temperatures from March through May will be warmer than the norm. “Better chances for above-normal temperatures, although slight, across almost the entire basin,” Kluck says. “Upper basin actually has a little bit of weak signature towards cooler-than-normal temperatures in the far northwest and then warm once you get halfway through South Dakota, Wyoming, all the way through the south and east of there.”
Kluck says he’s concerned about the worsening dry conditions across the region. “What we don’t like seeing but is typical of a La Nina year on the precipitation outlook is this below-normal forecast sneaking up from the south and southwest,” he says.
According to Kluck, the mountain snowpack, which feeds into the basin, is about 80% of normal.
(By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton)