The Ottumwa Courier

Southeast Iowa

August 29, 2013

Drought strengthens; water levels a concern

OTTUMWA — The U.S. Drought Monitor's map of Iowa looks uncomfortably familiar.

All of Iowa now rates as abnormally dry with most of the southern two-thirds of the state already in moderate drought. A swath across the state from the Missouri River to Keokuk County is in a severe drought.

The only surprise, really, is that Wapello County isn't also in the severe drought category. Rain has been largely absent the entire month with less than an inch of total precipitation, and no significant rain has fallen in Ottumwa since Aug. 6-7.

The shift into drought has come fast. Less than 20 percent of Iowa was even considered abnormally dry six weeks ago. More than that is now in severe drought.

Experts say the only thing that has helped this summer has been the relatively cool weather. That's gone now. Ottumwa tied a record high on Wednesday and could threaten records today.

While some areas, particularly in northern Iowa, have seen rain this month, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources says people who head toward the water for Labor Day could be in for a surprise. Water levels in many Iowa lakes and rivers are “nearly identical as during last year's drought.”

The evidence is obvious in southeast Iowa. The Des Moines River at Ottumwa was at 1.3 feet Thursday morning and is expected to drop to only a foot of water as we head into next week.

Todd Robertson, who works with the IDNR water trails program, said a quick online check can save people a lot of frustration.

“If they are not going locally, they should either check the USGS site for stream flows or call the county conservation board where they’re planning to float,” Robertson said. “We don’t want people to get in to trouble because the water can’t support a canoe, kayak or tube and they have to walk, turning a six-hour trip in to a 10- to 12-hour trip.”

Text Only
Southeast Iowa
  • raceway concept drawing.jpg Raceway Rebate passes the House

    Rep. Greg Heartsill reports that the bill to provide up to $2 million in sales tax rebates to the Knoxville Raceway has passed out of the Iowa House of Representatives, 78-15. 

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Live entertainment slated for Tulip Time This year's line-up for Festhouden, which will begin at 7 p.m. each evening of Tulip Time, has been announced. Festhouden will take place on the Tulip Toren located on the south side of Pella's square. Grandstand tickets for Festhouden and the evenin

    April 16, 2014

  • Spawning fish for better fishing The annual spring fish netting is underway at Rathbun Lake, Spirit Lake and Guttenberg and will begin Tuesday night at Storm Lake, as the spawning season picks up steam. Staff from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources collects walleye, northern p

    April 16, 2014

  • Chronic wasting disease found in wild deer OTTUMWA — Since 2002, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources has collected more than 50,000 samples of captive and wild deer in Iowa in an effort to look for cases of chronic wasting disease. On April 9, they confirmed an infected wild deer had bee

    April 15, 2014

  • Good Shepherd Food Pantry making a difference BLAKESBURG — Good Shepherd Food Pantry in Blakesburg began its third full year of operation this month. Start-up funds included the South Central United Methodist Conference grant of $1,200 and a large cash donation from Hope Well Church in response

    April 15, 2014

  • Council approves sale to Historical Preservation Society BLAKESBURG — Blakesburg City Council on Monday approved sale of the museum property to Blakesburg Historical Preservation Society. The $4,000 bid submitted by BHPS was the only bid received. Terms of the bid include a clause that if at sometime the p

    April 15, 2014

  • Construction Trades pic 1 Marion County building permits on the rise

    It's expected to be a busy construction season around Marion County. According to County Zoning Administrator Missy Poffenbarger, her office has issued 17 building permits since March 18. 

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Blue Zones photo 2 Blue Zones kicks off in Osky

    OSKALOOSA -- Blue Zones Project held its Oskaloosa Kickoff Monday evening at the Oskaloosa High School gym to help improve the community's health. Blue Zones originated with Dan Buettner of National Geographic. He was asked to find areas of the world

    April 15, 2014 2 Photos

  • Medical marijuana bill may surface in Senate DES MOINES (AP) -- Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal says he will sponsor a bill legalizing the sale of medical marijuana in Iowa, reviving an issue once thought dead this year. The persistent efforts of woman who have children with epilepsy chang

    April 15, 2014

  • Branstad: Action needed to protect Iowa students DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Terry Branstad has called on the Legislature to take action following an Iowa Supreme Court ruling that found school coaches cannot be convicted of sexual exploitation by a school employee under current law. The Iowa Supr

    April 15, 2014

Obituaries
Record
Facebook
AP National