Pella Chronicle

July 3, 2014

Drought departs as rivers rise

Courier Staff Writer

OTTUMWA — OTTUMWA — There’s more evidence of just how wet June was in Iowa, if any was needed, and it comes from folks who keep a close eye on water issues.

The U.S. Drought Monitor released a new map of the state Thursday showing no areas under drought conditions, and less than 5 percent of the state is even considered dry. It’s a huge shift from the start of June, when more than a quarter of Iowa was in moderate drought and most areas were considered abnormally dry.

In fact, this week’s map shows the least concern about drought in almost exactly a year. The July 9, 2013 map was the last one that had less of the state in the dry category.

There’s a flip side to the drought monitor’s map, and it’s not nearly as encouraging. The Iowa Flood Information System shows flooding concerns over a vast swath of the state. Take a line from Keokuk in southeast Iowa to Sioux City in northwestern Iowa. If you’re northeast of the line, there’s a good chance you’re dealing with flood concerns.

Most of the immediate area is in reasonably good shape, but there is one significant exception. The North Skunk River at Sigourney is at major flood stage.

The good news is that Iowa should get a break from the concerns. The past couple days have been mostly dry. While there is a chance for storms over the weekend, the National Weather Service isn’t calling for the kinds of washouts the state has seen in recent weeks.