JOHNSTON — While it didn’t rain this morning here in north-central Iowa, many Iowans were awakened by unfamiliar noises this (Wednesday) morning, claps of thunder and raindrops on the rooftop.
Some communities that have seen precious little precipitation in weeks — even months — were hit with a deluge.
Hydrologist Jeff Zogg, at the National Weather Service, says multiple flash flood warnings were issued early today as rainfall totals reached seven and eight inches in a few locations. “That’s a combination of some radar estimates as well as some rainfall reports that we received,” Zogg says. “The heaviest rainfall fell in a stripe from southwest into south-central Iowa and amounts there were as high as four to six inches with some locally higher amounts.”
Traffic was slowed on many roadways, including Interstate 29 in western Iowa, due to a combination of standing water and a lack of visibility during the downpour. “We’re not hearing a whole lot in terms of major damage from the rainfall,” Zogg says, “mainly just some road closures, maybe some basements with water in them, but in most places, the rainfall was pretty welcome.” The old adage of “When it rains, it pours,” had dual significance today, as drought-stricken areas badly needed the rain, just not quite so much of it over such a short period of time.
“The rainfall fell pretty intensely in some locations,” Zogg says, “so while the rainfall was welcome, in some cases it fell a little too fast for it to soak in, and it ran off and caused some of the problems that we were seeing.” Wide sections of Iowa have been in drought for a few years now, and this precipitation is coming at a crucial time for farmers.
“The rainfall that we’ve received will definitely help,” Zogg says. “It won’t end the drought conditions, but as far as for the rest of the day, the chances for showers and storms will be greatest pretty much across the southern half of the state, basically south of Highway 30. It’s kind of winding down in some areas but better chances as you go further south.” The long-range forecast calls for at least a chance of rain every day through Sunday.