The Ottumwa Courier

Southeast Iowa

August 22, 2013

Jekyll-and-Hyde weather not unprecedented

OTTUMWA — The drought situation didn't improve in southeast Iowa in the past week, but it didn't get much worse, either. The way things are going this year, that's a step in the right direction.

What the heck happened? The state saw the wettest spring in history this year and southeast Iowa residents needed to consider whether building an ark might be an option. But in June, the rain left and it hasn't come back except for brief visits.

The result is that more than a third of the state has slipped back into moderate drought, while more than 80 percent is abnormally dry, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Less than an inch of rain has fallen in Ottumwa this August. Nearly all of that fell on August 6-7.

Has this kind of Jekyll-and-Hyde weather ever happened before?

“It's not a real common thing to have a reversal this time of year,” said State Climatologist Harry Hillaker. “But there have been worse examples.”

Two years in particular come to mind. The spring of 1983 was cool and wet, much like this year. Then summer arrived.

“It was like someone flipped a switch and it went hot and dry,” Hillaker said. “Just the worst timing.”

Planting that year was delayed by the wet spring, so the crops didn't have the strong root systems they usually establish before the summer months arrive. That makes a big difference when dry weather arrives.

It's common sense, really. Topsoil dries out faster than soil a few inches down. It's closer to the hot, dry air. Think of what happens to the edges of brownies in the oven. Contact with the hot metal of the pan dries the edges much more than the rest of the treat.

Officially, there was no drought that year. Yields were still clobbered by the weather.

Text Only
Southeast Iowa
  • 0726 OTT cedar creek Gone in a flash

    BLOOMFIELD — Bob Parker got about as close to lightning as you can Friday morning, and came out of it without injury. A line of thunderstorms started moving through southeast Iowa in the early morning hours. Parker was heading to work at about 7 a.m.

    July 25, 2014 2 Photos

  • Southeast Iowa's Lake Darling State Park reopens BRIGHTON, Iowa (AP) — Lake Darling State Park has reopened after around six years of restoration work in southeast Iowa's Washington County. The $16 million project began in 2008 and included draining the 300-acre lake and replacing a dam. The park n

    July 25, 2014

  • Honey Creek Resort recognized for recycling MORAVIA — Honey Creek Resort State Park on Rathbun Lake has been selected as having the best government recycling program by the Iowa Recycling Association.“Iowa’s Greenest Resort” received the award July 17 during the Iowa Recycling Association annu

    July 24, 2014

  • Mammoth photo 2 Researchers find mammoth ankle

    OSKALOOSA — Researchers at the mammoth dig site in rural Mahaska County recently found an articulated mammoth ankle — a very interesting find.“It tells us something we never knew before,” said Dave Brenzel of the Indian Creek Nature Center. The mammo

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • Van Buren says bye-bye to Waste Management KEOSAUQUA — Waste Management has been charging the Van Buren Community School District an average of nearly $1,600 a month to remove waste and recycled materials from the Douds and Keosauqua centers. Now faced with a bidding process, Waste Management

    July 23, 2014

  • MINE logo.jpg Two arrested on drug charges

    The Mid-Iowa Narcotics Enforcement drug task force executed a search warrant in Knoxville last night. A man and a woman were arrested. 

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Propane suppliers: buy ahead to avoid price spikes DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) — State officials and propane suppliers are advising consumers to fill their tanks before cold weather arrives because prices could climb again this winter. The Dubuque Telegraph Herald reports (http://bit.ly/1obSe2U ) prices will

    July 23, 2014

  • Military Retiree Appreciation Day Aug. 28 near Pella A military Retiree Appreciation Day will be held Thursday, Aug. 28 at the Prairie Meadows Race Track and Casino in Altoona, Iowa. Retirees from all branches of the armed forces and their family members are eligible to attend. The event will run from

    July 23, 2014

  • Report: Iowa third among states in child well-being DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A new national report on the well-being of children released Tuesday ranked Iowa third in the nation, up four places from last year, the best showing for the state in 25 years. The Kids Counts report from the Annie E. Casey Fo

    July 23, 2014

  • Report: Iowa third among states in child well-being DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A new national report on the well-being of children ranks Iowa third in the nation, up four places from last year. The Kids Counts report released Tuesday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation says Iowa ranks first among all states

    July 22, 2014

Obituaries
Record
Facebook
AP National