Pella Chronicle

January 24, 2013

Dry January leaves drought untouched


CNHI

OTTUMWA — A light snowfall wasn't enough to budge Iowa's drought standing this week.

The U.S. Drought Monitor shows Iowa unchanged from last week, with nearly 60 percent of the state in severe drought. Southeast Iowa, with the exception of a small part of Appanoose County, is in moderate drought.

The numbers have largely been unchanged since winter began, and that's no surprise when you look at historical averages. October averages 2.83 inches of precipitation in Ottumwa, but that falls to 1.37 inches by December. January is the driest month on average, with just 0.9 inches of precipitation.

The wettest month? That's usually June, which sees an average of 5.09 inches.

While snowfall this time of year might shift the numbers for the drought monitor, it's doubtful how much long-term good it would actually do the region. The ground is frozen, making it almost impossible for moisture to penetrate.