The Ottumwa Courier

Southeast Iowa

October 15, 2012

Weekend rains guarantee October surplus

OTTUMWA — This past weekend's much-needed rain guaranteed Ottumwa more rain in October than average, the first time that has happened since April.

This year's drought is the most severe in decades. The state dried out and, by late summer, every corner of Iowa was experiencing severe drought conditions.

It didn't look like it would be that bad in April. Rains fell on more than half of the days. Ottumwa saw 4.05 inches of rain that month, more than a half inch more than the 3.4 inch average.

The next few months tell the story:

Month Actual precipitation Average precipitation Departure from normal
May 3.04 4.71 -1.67
June 3.24 5.09 -1.85
July 0.90 4.47 -3.57
August 2.99 4.61 -1.62
September 0.78 3.79 -3.01
October* 3.32 2.82 +0.50
       
Total 14.27 25.49 -11.20

*Denotes month through October 14

 

Precipitation plunged, with less than an inch falling on southeast Iowa in July and September. The area should receive 22.67 inches of rain between May and September, according to the National Weather Service. It received less than half that.

October will be different. Halfway through, southeast Iowa is a half-inch ahead of what it should receive for the entire month. That guarantees a surplus for the first time in six months.

Whether it's enough to break the drought is something no one can know yet. The area has, on average, about another six weeks before the ground freezes and blocks rain from getting in. If rai doesn't fall, the ground will be dry again to start the spring.

But that's the average. And it hasn't paid to expect the average from the weather this year.

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