The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

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
Local News
  • Ladies Night Out through downtown Ottumwa Friday OTTUMWA — Ladies, are you ready for a night on the town? Then grab your passport and head downtown Friday evening. Beginning at 5:30 p.m. Friday, 28 downtown businesses will keep their doors open late for a special Ladies Night Out. Everyone will mee

    April 20, 2014

  • 0422 Eagle photo On a wing and a prayer

    LAKE RED ROCK — Protective gloves aren’t uncommon when dealing with a sick patient, though they’re not usually heavy, leather welder’s gloves. But, then, the patient usually doesn’t have toenails designed to puncture flesh. Or a sharp beak. Diane Mas

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0420 OTT Gothic house easter web-color photo American Gothic House celebrates Easter weekend Kids participate in an egg roll competition Saturday on the American Gothic House lawn in Eldon. Families were invited to come and participate in Easter-themed events and make crafts. They also had the opportunity to dress up and pose in front of the

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0422 OTT Egg hunt color photo -L On a roll this Easter ELDON — If you pulled up to the American Gothic House Center Saturday afternoon at moments before 1 p.m., you probably had to park halfway down the road. Cars filled the parking lot and spilled out onto the street as parents and kids from all over so

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ups and downs OTTUMWA — Iowa's governor and his lieutenant seemed thrilled with part of the employment news Friday. Gov. Terry Branstad's Twitter page said: "BREAKING: Iowa's employment reaches all-time high of 1,615,200." Iowa Workforce Development confirms the n

    April 18, 2014

  • Those who came before OTTUMWA — There is so much information on researching genealogy, beginners may not know where to start. But experts and knowledgeable amateurs will offer help as they gather for a free Family History Fair to share which websites are worthwhile and wh

    April 18, 2014

  • 0419 OTT Tree planting color photo -T -M -L Young Ottumwans show their green thumbs OTTUMWA — Several of Ottumwa’s cemeteries and parks were recipients of new trees this week as Ottumwa High School students and Eagle Scouts dedicated their time to planting dozens of trees around the city. Students from the OHS JROTC class were at Ot

    April 18, 2014 4 Photos

  • 0419 OTT Prayer Walk 2 bw photo -L -M -T On a journey OTTUMWA — The seven blocks through the center of Ottumwa took more than an hour and a half to walk as 25 people prayed and read Scripture to reflect on the events of Good Friday. Led by the Ottumwa Area Fellowship of Pastors, the walk began at First

    April 18, 2014 3 Photos

  • 0419 OTT drought map -L -T -M Drought weakens grip on Iowa OTTUMWA — Last weekend saw the first significant rains in quite some time for the Ottumwa area. How long? The last day with at least a half-inch of rain was back on Nov. 20. It was a welcome rain, arriving after the ground had thawed. That allowed at

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Eugene Clark STOCKPORT — Eugene Morris Clark, 90, of Stockport, died at 5:30 p.m. April 17, 2014, at Good Samaritan Health and Rehabilitation Center, Ottumwa. Graveside services will be at 11 a.m. Monday in Spencer Cemetery northeast of Stockport; Pastor Richard

    April 18, 2014

Photo reprints


Obituaries

Facebook
E-edition