IOWA — Drought and flood conditions are starting to commingle here in Iowa, and the distance between the two may sometimes only span a couple of counties.

In August of 2018, parts of southern Iowa experienced an extreme drought with cities recording precipitation levels more than 6″ below average. Meanwhile, less than 100 miles north parts of northern Iowa were more than 10″ above the average precipitation levels.

“2018 was the wettest year for almost 30 counties in northern Iowa while Extreme drought evolved over almost two years in SE Iowa,” said State Climatologist, Justin Glisan, “Both in this case were long-term features.”

Drought tends to form over the course of 1 or more years, while just a few weeks or months of excessive rainfall could mean the difference between drought and flood for some areas.

So far in 2022, we’ve seen an expansion in drought conditions in northwest Iowa where that part of the state is more than 5″ below the average for precipitation amounts for the year, meanwhile just a couple of counties southwest of this area, we have seen excessive rainfall on multiple occasions which have some parts of Story, Boone, and Dallas county measuring more than 5″ above the average precipitation amounts for the year so far.

Glisan says this trend of commingling extremes will likely continue. “Recent heavy rainfalls are more localized, but the trends do show extreme wet and dry occurring in closer proximity (at the state and regional scale) more often,” said Glisan.