AMES, Iowa — Rainwater was starting to pond on the River Valley Soccer Fields on the east side of town Tuesday. Water was trickling into the Skunk River, which was flowing much higher than just two months ago, but still at a very low level. The rain falling on Iowa was welcome news for State Climatologist Justin Glisan.
“Looking at four-inch soil temperatures across the state still in the mid-30s, so when you do get a rainfall event like this and it’s looking like more of a rainfall rather than a winter weather event,” said Glisan. “As of now you do get good infiltration, and you can also get some runoff into the stream systems that have been below average as well.”
While it’s nice to hear the rain, and see water standing in places, this rainfall alone will not solve the drought.
“We need about 25 of these to really turn the drought off,” said Glisan. “This is not a drought buster, but why this is important is getting some moisture in the tank before we freeze up so we have availability when we get into late winter and in the spring as we start looking towards our the next growing season.”
As the State Climatologist, he is aware of how dry Iowa really has been.
“If you look at precipitation deficits so we have the 29th driest summer on record going back 150 years, and then moving in the fall. Top 10 driest falls for the northern third of the state,” said Glisan. “The long-term precipitation deficits are anywhere from 15 to 25 inches.”
As a part of his position, Glisan has also been working with other agencies to create a drought plan for the state of Iowa.
“This is a better way for us to be prepared,” said Glisan. “As we move into the future because droughts are going to remain with us as we move decades out.”