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Moderate drought conditions emerge in northeast Iowa

Drought conditions have emerged in northeast Iowa this week.

Iowa State Climatologist Dr. Justin Glisan says D1 Moderate Drought was introduced in northeast Iowa on this week’s U.S. Drought Monitor. The report also reveals an expansion of abnormally dry conditions across a big chunk of the state.

“A D1 region was introduced north of Waterloo towards the Minnesota/Wisconsin border,” said Glisan. “That’s where we’ve seen drier than normal conditions going back 30, 60 and even 90 days. And then we saw expansion of that D0 abnormally dry conditions. We don’t consider that drought, but when you do see expansion of D0, it’s kind of a signal to remind us that we are seeing drier conditions and drier subsoil moisture profiles. That can impact drought conditions if we don’t get the regular types of rainfall that we expect for this time of year.”

Glisan explains what this drought emergence means for farmers in northeast Iowa.

“It’s a double-edged sword,” said Glisan. “Drier conditions are great for planting. Of course, if you don’t have soil moisture available near the surface and you don’t get rainfall, you’re not going to start germinating until you do get rain. It’s good for getting that planter out in the field and get rolling, but if we don’t get timely rainfalls as we move forward, we could see some physiological issues with corn and soybeans.”

Glisan adds there are chances of rainfall over the next seven days, though the storm track is stubbornly stuck to the south.

“We’ve seen a signal for near-normal to slightly elevated chances of wetter conditions across much of the state,” said Glisan. “If we look at the initial May outlook that was issued in the middle of April, we do see an elevated signal for wetter conditions and also warmer conditions.”

To view Thursday’s U.S. Drought Monitor for Iowa, click here.

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