The latest drought map for Iowa shows a lot less color than it has in recent weeks. Iowa DNR hydrologist, Tim Hall, says there are fewer areas of severe drought.
“The worst is in Monona and Woodbury and Plymouth counties along the Missouri River in western Iowa. So about seven percent of the state in that corner state, the rest of the state most of it is not rated at all,” Hall says.
Most of northwest Iowa and parts of east-central Iowa are listed at the lowest level on the map called “abnormally dry.”
“Then the abnormally dry just tells us that it can flip back and forth between no drought conditions or dryness at all or it could become D-one if things dry up here — so it’s certainly nowhere near where it was,” he says.
Hall says things are looking as good as they have in months.
“All drought conditions together back in February — 20 percent of the state was in moderate or severe drought — and now it’s seven,” according to Hall.
While things have improved, Hall wants to see more of the drought go away in the rest of May and into June.
“In the western states, they have to get all their moisture over the winter. Here winters are pretty dry. It’s April, May, June, and July that are the important moisture-building months for us,” Hall says. “We should be getting an inch of rain every week here. So when we have a nice three-quarter of an inch rainfall once a week — believe it or not, that’s not helping. That’s getting us farther into the dryness categories.”
There’s another indicator for Hall that we could use more moisture.
We’ve actually not seen any significant small stream flooding in the state, which tells me that the rain we’ve gotten has pretty much been absorbed into the soil where we’d like to see it. And we haven’t had that flash flooding that sometimes happens when we get two inches of rain,” Hall says.
He says that’s an indication there’s plenty of room in the soil for more water. Hall says the final weeks of May and the month of June will be key in building up the water bank for the rest of the year.