If October was a welcome return to rain, November has been an unwelcome return to drought in southeast Iowa.
November is nearly assured of coming in below normal rainfall levels. As of Tuesday, only 1.59 inches of rain had fallen in Ottumwa. That's compared to the average of 1.83 inches on November 27.
That may not sound like a huge difference. But take a look at the percentages. The rainfall thus far in November is almost 14 percent below normal for the month. And most of it fell back on November 11. There is currently no rain in the forecast for the rest of November. If that holds, the official measurement will be only 66 percent of the normal 2.83 inches of rain.
In October, southeast Iowa saw more rain than normal for the first time in seven months. It was enough to ease the drought situation, though soil moisture levels remain well below normal according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
There's no guarantee of improvement in the upcoming months. The Climate Prediction Center, part of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, is forecasting some improvement of drought conditions in eastern Iowa through February, but little to no improvement for the western two-thirds of the state.