OTTUMWA — Conditions continued to improve over the past week in Iowa, further weakening the drought that began last year.
Southeast Iowa saw relatively little change week-to-week, but the drought had already ended in much o the area. East-central Iowa saw the biggest changes in the new map from the U.S. Drought Monitor, as the percentage of the state completely out of drought rose by 10 percentage points. Nearly 17 percent of the state is now drought-free.
And, for the first time since late last summer, no part of Iowa is in the exceptional drought category. That rating, the most severe in the monitor's system, had clung to a small portion of northwestern Iowa.
Nearly a third of Iowa is now considered no worse off than the abnormally dry stage. And that will likely improve again next week, given the large rainfall totals the state has seen in the past couple days.