Extremely dry February leads to drought expansion

Last month was the sixth driest February on record for Iowa, and the lack of precipitation resulted in the expansion of drought conditions across the state, according to the latest Water Summary Update.
Precipitation for the month averaged only 0.27 inches, almost an inch below normal. Drought conditions expanded during the month, with more than 90 percent of Iowa in some form of dryness or drought at the end of February. Areas of concern for shallow groundwater supplies exist in parts of northwest Iowa.
“Precipitation totals in February were disappointing, so instead of steady or improving conditions, we saw expansion of drought conditions in the state,” said Tim Hall, DNR’s coordinator of hydrology resources. “However, the first week of March saw over twice the amount of rain as the entire month of February, so that is encouraging. Hopefully the normal rains of March and April and May will improve conditions as we head into the growing season.”
Streamflow levels are also below normal in many locations across the southern half of the state.
For a thorough review of Iowa’s water resource trends, go to iowadnr.gov/watersummaryupdate.
The report is prepared by the Iowa DNR, 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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