Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

March 11, 2013

Area off to wet start in 2013

MATT MILNER
CNHI

OTTUMWA — Southeast Iowa is off to a decent start to 2013 in terms of the precipitation that has fallen.

Two of the first three months of the year (and three of the past four months) have seen precipitation levels run ahead of normal. In March, the area has officially received 1.83 inches of precipitation. That's well ahead of the 0.74 inches on average for the first 11 days of the month and not far off the 2.24 inches March usually sees in an entire month.

January was comparatively wet as well. Less than an inch of precipitation usually falls on the area, but this year saw 1.52 inches.

February was the exception. The area averages 1.28 inches of precipitation, but only got 1.06 inches. But receiving 82 percent of a month's expected moisture still runs well ahead of the worst months of last summer's drought.

Precipitation usually picks up as the temperatures warm. The big question is whether this wetter pattern will continue. It's not doing the ground much good now because the soil is still frozen. But if rains continue after the ground thaws, it will begin recharging soil moisture levels.

You can get specific soil moisture information by using the USDA's web soil survey.