“We had all kinds of subsoil moisture, but the plants couldn't get to it,” Hillaker explained.
Go back farther into the records, and Hillaker said 1947 had an “even more abrupt transition.” It had a large May snowstorm, much like this year. The rains stopped in July after the wettest June on record. (That record has been broken twice in the years since.) Then it stopped.
August 1947 was, and remains, the hottest August ever in Iowa. The moisture stored from June evaporated quickly.
That has been the saving grace for the summer of 2013. Droughts are frequently accompanied by hot weather. But this year is different. The highest temperature anywhere in Iowa this year is 98 degrees. Comparatively, Hillaker said, that's not all that hot.
The next week probably offers the last, best chance for Iowa to hit the 100 degree mark, with temperatures expected to hit the mid-90s for much of the state. It's possible to have temperatures that high in September, of course, but the chances decrease.
But after more than a year of intense weather shifts, Iowans aren't taking anything for granted.