WASHINGTON, DC – An area south of the Quad Cities is now facing severe drought conditions, the third worst of six drought categories issued by weather and climate forecasters.
The U.S. Drought Monitor survey of dry conditions in America has added parts of eastern Iowa and a sliver of western Illinois in its rapidly expanding area of the Midwest now facing abnormally dry conditions.
In eastern Iowa that includes:
- Most of Louisa County
- All of Des Moines County
- North and eastern Henry County
- All of eastern Lee County
In western Illinois it includes:
- Most of Mercer County
- Western Warren County
- Western Henderson County
- Extreme northwest Hancock County
Drought researchers note Iowa recorded its warmest week since July 2012, with highs topping 104 at Des Moines and Fort Madison on August 30. Statewide August rainfall ranked seventh driest among 141 years of records and followed the ninth driest July.
Many Iowa stations set new August records for dryness:
- Keokuk and Mount Pleasant: no rain
- Burlington and Fort Madison: a trace
- Jefferson; 0.04 inch
- Centerville: 0.1 inch
- Iowa City: 0.13 inch
- Marshalltown: 0.17 inch
The very dry western counties in Iowa did get some beneficial rain last week. On the east side of the state, the U.S. Agriculture Department says 98% of farmers in the Quad City area say soil moisture is “short” to “very short”.