Drought in eastern Iowa could reach an unprecedented level
The grass becomes more and more brown as the cracks in the soil continue to widen. If we don’t see some rain soon, we’ll hit a record we don’t want to set.
August was the sixth month in a row that Cedar Rapids had less than normal rain. The last time the city was above normal was in February. That month, the city officially received 2.47 inches (the normal rate is 1.22 for February). Since then, here are the monthly totals, with normal precipitation for that month in parentheses:
- March: 0.80 (1.99)
- April: 1.23 (3.56)
- May: 2.29 (4.25)
- June: 2.25 (5.56)
- July: 1.99 (4.41)
- 1.95 Aug (4.07)
Through August 31, Cedar Rapids was 11.61 inches below normal for the year, and the drought has begun to accelerate over the past few weeks.
Three weeks without even a trace of rain
On Monday, August 14, the airport in Eastern Iowa received 0.05 of precipitation. This is the last day that saw measurable rain.
From August 15th through September 4th, there was no trace at the airport in eastern Iowa. This means 21 consecutive days with nothing.
Cory Thompson, a meteorologist for KCRG TV-9, told me that the longest period Cedar Rapids has gone without measurable rain is 26 days. He says it happened twice:
December 23, 1930 to January 17, 1931
At the start of the Dust Bowl, Cedar Rapids saw no precipitation of any kind during that stretch.
From January 7 to February 1, 2019
Cedar Rapids ended up going six months with higher than normal rainfall that year.
It’s even weirder because it’s summer
What makes the current period of no rain even more strange is that, as Currie reminded me, the combined normal precipitation in January and February is 2.17 inches. And in August and September it is 7.47 inches.
Will we achieve the record?
If Cedar Rapids doesn’t rain today or tonight, it looks like we’ll set the record for the longest dry period at 26 days on Saturday. There is currently no chance of rain according to TV-9’s forecast from Wednesday to Saturday.
Will we set the record on Sunday? After tonight, Sunday brings the next chance of rain. Hopefully, one of the rare chances of rain will pay off soon.
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(tags for translation) Eastern Iowa drought could reach unprecedented level