October 7th drought monitor update

Weather

Over the past week, we’ve seen a slow and steady amount of rainfall. It certainly hasn’t been drought-busting but it has helped in some areas.

Rainfall estimates based on grid data from NOAA
Quad Cities: 0.25″, Clinton: 0.10″, Muscatine: 0.25″, Burlington: 0.25″, Iowa City: 0.25″, Sterling: 0.50″, Galesburg: 0.50″, Galena: 1.00″

With the recent rain totals added to our annual rainfall amounts, about half of the QCA remains well below normal.

For the year, the departure from normal has drier areas mainly North of interstate-80. The Northern parts of the QCA sitting at 2-12″ of rain below normal. The Southern parts of the QCA are quite different with areas being 2-20″ above normal.

For the year, the Quad Cities Area has received between 25″-50″ of rain. Heavier amounts further to the Southeast of the Quad Cities.

For the fall season (starting September 1st), we have been quite dry. On average, the QCA should receive about 4 inches of rain from September 1st to today. Areas under the worsening drought conditions have struggled to even get half of that.

With all that being said, we’ve seen our drought monitor remain mostly the same compaired to last week’s update. Most of the improvements have remained over parts of Minnesota, but the majority of the Midwest area has seen abnormally dry conditions expanding. Locally, parts of Southeastern Iowa have been abnormally dry causing the dry conditions to expand. Areas over far Eastern Iowa and Northern Illinois that have been under moderate to severe drought conditions have worsened and expanded some.

A local look at the drought monitor changes
A regional look at the drought monitor changes

With all that, we’ve been quite dry on the year as a whole. As of today, we a sitting at just over 5 inches of rain under. The Winter and Spring seasons started out promising but by Summer and the start of Fall, it’s been quite dry.

This has expanded our drought monitor quite a bit from the end of Spring to today.

The good news is our forecast is looking rainier and the Climate Prediction Center’s Outlooks do show an above normal trend for precip amounts. In the end, will this be enough to overcome these drought conditions? Well, time will tell… there are a few factors that will contribute to this.

Factors at play include the rate at which we get rain as well as if it’s spontaneous or prolonged like we are currently seeing. Quick and spontaneous rainfall will result in more runoff and less of that water being absorbed. Whereas if light to moderate rainfall with multiple days of rain occurs, this will result in more rainfall being absorbed into the soil and improving our drought conditions.

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