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August rainfall brings improvement to Iowa drought conditions

Iowa storm
DES MOINES — August was the first of the summer months to bring above-normal precipitation to the state, providing significant relief to the ongoing drought conditions, according to the latest Water Summary Update.

Average precipitation for August totaled 4.64 inches, or 0.51 inches above normal, with especially high precipitation occurring in northeast Iowa at the end of the month. Monthly precipitation totals ranged from 0.23 inches at Fairfield to 20.65 inches at Ionia, where 11.25 inches of Ionia’s total monthly rain fell over a 24-hour period ending on Aug. 29. Despite the above normal rainfall for the month, statewide 2021 rainfall totals are more than four inches below normal for the year.

Streamflow and soil moisture levels have improved over most of the state as well. Drought conditions, as reflected in the U.S. Drought Monitor, have also improved. The area of extreme drought in Iowa has been eliminated, and the area of severe drought has been reduced to less than 13 percent. The total area of the state covered by drought conditions remains above 70 percent, but the severity of the drought conditions has been significantly reduced.

“The above-normal precipitation we received in much of Iowa is exactly what was needed,” according to Tim Hall, Hydrology Resources Coordinator for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. “As we move into the fall season, continued above normal monthly rainfall should continue to improve conditions across the state.”

For a thorough review of Iowa’s water resource trends, go to iowadnr.gov/WaterSummaryUpdate.

The report is prepared by technical staff from Iowa DNR, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, IIHR—Hydroscience and Engineering, and the U.S. Geological Survey, in collaboration with Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Department.

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