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Iowa snowfall brings relief to drought-stricken state
Iowa Ag Connection - 02/09/2024

Iowa's recent heavy snowfall has brought much-needed moisture, significantly improving drought conditions across the state, according to the latest Water Summary Update.

Record January precipitation: January brought 1.97 inches of precipitation, double the usual amount for the month. This follows a consistent trend of above-average rainfall, with three out of the last four months exceeding normal levels. Since October 2023, the state has received 7.24 inches of precipitation, which represents 106% of its typical amount.

Drought watch replaces drought warning: Thanks to the improved moisture levels, Iowa's Drought Plan shows significant improvement and stabilization. While northwest and north central Iowa now experience normal conditions, the rest of the state remains under drought watch, a less severe designation compared to the drought warning in effect at the end of December.

Optimistic outlook for spring: "January's double normal moisture has significantly mitigated drought concerns across most of Iowa," says Tim Hall, Hydrology Resources Coordinator for the Iowa DNR. "The consistent precipitation since October, coupled with lack of deep soil freezing, is a positive sign. Melted snow is effectively infiltrating the ground, preventing flooding. We're on the right track for further improvement as we approach spring."

Spring rains expected to bring further relief: Historically, Iowa experiences increased precipitation during late winter and spring. Continued normal to above-normal rainfall during these months is expected to further alleviate drought conditions across the state.

Collaborative effort behind the report: The Water Summary Update is a result of collaboration between various agencies, including the Iowa DNR, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, IIHR—Hydroscience and Engineering, the U.S. Geological Survey, and Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Department.

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