Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

January 17, 2013

Drought conditions barely budge

MATT MILNER
CNHI

OTTUMWA — Iowa's drought eased very slightly in the past week. So slightly, in fact, people probably didn't notice a difference.

The U.S. Drought Monitor classifies drought as abnormally dry, moderate, severe, extreme or exceptional. The entire state has been in at least moderate drought since the week of July 17, 2012. That's 27 consecutive weeks, more than half a year.

This week's changes were tiny, less than a percentage point in two categories. More than 58 percent of the state remains in severe drought and nearly one-third of Iowa is in extreme drought. The amount of land in severe drought fell by .09 points, while the area in extreme drought rose by .19 points.

Southeast Iowa remains mostly in moderate drought, with only a sliver of southwestern Appanoose County in the severe category.

Regional patterns didn't change much, either. The midwest saw some areas slip completely out of the drought categories, but those were on the eastern side of the region. The high plains region, which borders western Iowa and is among the hardest-hit areas, saw little change.

Things aren't likely to improve in the immediate future. The National Weather Service's forecast for the next week is dry.