Home Part of States Newsroom
Widespread rains ease drought in western Iowa


Widespread rains ease drought in western Iowa

Mar 28, 2024 | 11:52 am ET
By Jared Strong
Widespread rains ease drought in western Iowa
Drought conditions lifted from much of northwest Iowa in the past week. (Courtesy of U.S. Drought Monitor)

There was significant rainfall in the past week across the northwest half of the state, with much of that area receiving at least 2 inches of precipitation, according to the National Weather Service.

That helped reverse drought conditions that have been pestering Iowa for more than three years. The state’s overall dryness is now comparable to what it was in August — before it accelerated to a new peak last fall, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

About 71% of the state is suffering from some measure of drought, down from nearly all of the state at its worst. But Iowa is still substantially drier than a year ago, when less than a third of the state had drought.

Small areas of central Iowa had at least 4 inches of precipitation in the past week. A portion of far southeast Iowa had less than a half inch, but that area has also been wetter than the rest of the state. Some of it has no drought or dryness designation.

The driest area in the northeast quadrant of the state that has extreme drought — the second-to-worst classification — shrunk by about a third in the past week. Drought is expected to persist there into the summer, according to the federal Climate Prediction Center. But it should continue to ease in the southwest half of the state.

The recent rains have been a boon to rivers in western Iowa, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Nearly all of those rivers it monitors have normal or above-normal flows.

An example: The surface of the North Raccoon River near Jefferson has risen about 4 feet since the start of the week.