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November 8, 2012

Iowa drought unchanged

OTTUMWA — One thing has been constant with this year's drought: change.

Whether it ebbed or strengthened, there was generally some difference week-to-week for Iowa. The drought moved, shifted. It intensified in the northwestern corner of the state as it eased in the east.

This week? Nope. The U.S. Drought Monitor shows no change for Iowa.

It's not just that Iowa remains in a drought. It's that the lines between different degrees of drought didn't budge. The 2.52 percent of Iowa in the northwest under the most severe category last week is identical this week. A carbon copy 49.94 percent of the state is at least under extreme drought conditions.

There wasn't much movement nationally. Figures for the entire country stayed within a percentage point of where they were last week. The worst of the drought remains in a swath from western Kansa to southern South Dakota.

The Midwest, hard hit this past summer as drought seared Missouri, Illinois and Indiana, has seen conditions ease. Half the region has fallen back into moderate drought conditions. A quarter of the region, primarily the eastern portion, has no drought at all.

It's good news, but Iowa still needs rain. There is some in the forecast from Saturday night through Sunday night, but there is also a deadline. Once the ground freezes this winter, it will lock out additional moisture.

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