IOWA — Drought conditions continue to persist across parts of Iowa with the driest conditions being observed in NW Iowa. This is where severe drought has been observed since mid-March. It includes Monona and Woodbury county. Another 23% of Iowa is experiencing a moderate drought. Several counties in northwest, north central, and eastern Iowa are included in this area.
There has been some minor improvement in the moderate drought in north central Iowa and eastern Iowa. About 10% of the state improved from moderately dry to abnormally dry over the past week. Overall, about 5% of the state is no longer experiencing any dry soil conditions.
Impacts of drought
About 38% of Iowa is characterized as being abnormally dry. In the middle of the summer, this would show some drought stress on corn, but in early April this mainly shows as dry soil. “Field with residue or cover crops growing are okay,” said Jean Eells who is a landowner and soil specialist in north central Iowa. Eells also said, “Old corn stalks grabbed the snow as it blew and any moisture that didn’t sublimate could percolate.”
Moderate drought impacts can look like brown grasses which can lead to more grass fires. Burn bans are typically issued at this level.
Fire danger is particularly high with severe drought conditions. This is when livestock becomes stressed, and during the summer there tend to be fewer mosquitoes.
Last week’s drought map
Last week’s drought monitor for Iowa also showed about 2% of the state in a severe drought.
Just over 30% of the state was considered moderately dry last week, and another 33% was deemed abnormally dry. A few spots in northern Iowa and much of southern Iowa (~33% of Iowa) remains normal.
The U.S. Drought Monitor is produced through a partnership between the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).