Iowa sees above-normal rain, snow for first time in months

DES MOINES — After suffering through months of drought in Iowa, there’s finally an encouraging sign, according to the state climatologist.

Justin Glisan says the figures he’s compiled for October now show precipitation statewide was above normal for the month, the first time that’s happened in a long while. “We’re about three-and-a-quarter inches of snow and rain, and looking at the averages that we expect in October, about a half-inch above,” Glisan says. “So this is the first month, after eight consecutive months of below-average precipitation, in which we’re above average at the statewide scale.”

Less than two-percent of the state is considered in normal conditions, while the U.S. Drought Monitor shows more than 98-percent is in some form of drought, ranging from abnormally dry to extreme drought. Some parts of the state got a real drenching during October, but Glisan says other areas were missed almost completely.

“Now you’ll look at southern Iowa, definitely below-average precipitation, and that’s where we’ve seen some drought conditions expand,” Glisan says, “but overall, if you look at the drought map through the month, we have seen some improvements in eastern Iowa and across northwestern Iowa.”

While October was slightly wetter than normal, Glisan says the month wrapped up being a bit warmer than usual, too.

“We’re about two degrees above average for the month,” Glisan says. “Typically, we see the average temperature in October is 51 degrees. We were right around 53 degrees, so warmer conditions statewide, and across the upper Midwest in general.”

Thanks to the El Nino pattern, forecasters say Iowa could be in for above-normal temperatures in the winter ahead.