By MATT MILNER Courier staff writer
---- — OTTUMWA — This wasn’t quite what southeast Iowa needs, but at the end of a very dry summer, it’s hard to complain.
Ottumwa saw a soggy weekend.
Well, a partially soggy weekend, anyway.
The official rainfall comes to a paltry 0.14 inches since Saturday night, but that’s more than at any time since Aug. 6-7.
The good news is that there are several more chances for rain this week.
The National Weather Service predicts a 50 percent chance of thunderstorms today and a 60 percent chance tonight.
The odds of a storm drop for a day after that, though it can’t be ruled out Wednesday or Thursday. But it comes up again with a 50 percent chance of rain Thursday night.
How much rain falls this week is a tougher call to make.
But the current forecast calls for close to a half-inch of rain at the low end and more than an inch at the upper range. It’s nowhere near enough to undo the effects of months with little precipitation, as soil conditions deteriorated last week.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture said Monday that 51 percent of Iowa topsoil is very short of moisture and another 34 percent is short.
Subsoil takes longer to dry out, so only 45 percent rates very short of moisture. Another 38 percent comes in short.
Still, corn conditions are not as bad as last year.
About one-third of the crop is in fair condition and another third is in good condition.
Soybeans are in similar condition, with 68 percent in fair-to-good condition.
State Climatologist Harry Hillaker said last week averaged 6.4 degrees above normal, with statewide highs hitting 102 in two locations.
That marks the latest Iowa has hit that temperature since 1953.
It wasn’t all heat, though. Multiple locations in northern Iowa hit lows in the mid-30s on Saturday after the heat broke.
The shift didn’t mean all that much rain, though.
Hillaker said last week was the seventh consecutive week with below-normal rainfall.
Cooler temperatures also have moved into this area, but it’s mostly a return to average. High temperatures should be in the mid-70s at this point in September and, aside from the mid-80s on Wednesday and Thursday, that’s about where they’ll be.
There was one other weather note to emerge Monday: It’s the earliest recorded date for snow in Iowa. Of course, that was back in 1881.