DES MOINES, IOWA — While the 1-2″ of rain that fell across central Iowa this week will allow for immediate drought conditions to improve, for the summer as a whole it could be a different story.

Right now, about 2% of the state – which includes three counties along the Missouri River (Woodbury, Plymouth, and Monona county) – are considered severely dry. The overall drought includes about one-third of Iowa and has slowly been improving since mid-March.

La Niña conditions are expected to persist throughout the summer months and lead to another expansion of the drought in Iowa. La Niña conditions mean that the temperatures along the equator in the Pacific Ocean are below average.

Strong winds push the warmer water toward Asia, which then causes colder water deeper in the ocean to rise to the surface. This typically leads to drier and warmer weather during the summer months across the Great Plains.

The Climate Prediction Center’s outlook for June, July and August 2022 shows a 40-50% chance of above-average temperatures and a 33-40% chance of below-average precipitation in Iowa.

This week’s drought monitor does not include any rain that fell after 8 AM on Tuesday, so we’ll likely see some improvement across Iowa in the drought monitor next week, but the drought is expected to expand across the state during the summer.