Even with the recent snowfall, parts of southeastern Iowa are still listed as being in a moderate to severe drought, according to the National Drought Mitigation Center’s map.
The updated map was released by the center on Dec. 24. Iowa State University agronomist Jim Fawcett said drought conditions continuing through the winter is normal.
“As long as the ground is frozen the precipitation we receive during the winter won’t help the agricultural drought,” Fawcett said. “The precipitation will just run off in the spring during the snowmelt.”
According the National Weather Service (NWS) Web site, subsoil conditions are still listed as being below normal, especially west of the Mississippi River. Also, the soil has frozen early due to the colder weather conditions.
Fawcett said this won’t affect the agricultural drought either.
“If anything, it may help prevent the soil from drying out further,” he said.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) also reported to the NWS that stream, river, and groundwater levels in parts of southeastern Iowa are below normal.
This could continue in Iowa until spring, Fawcett said. When asked when the drought conditions would change, Fawcett said, “That’s anybody’s guess.’
“We could get to next spring and have a very wet spring,” he said, “and then go back to a very dry summer. However, any amount of rain will help the agricultural drought.”