Eastern Iowa Drought Dry Spell About to Reach Unprecendented Level
The grass gets more and more brown as the cracks in the soil continue to expand. If we don't see some precipitation soon, we'll reach a record we don't want to set.
The Worsening Drought
August was the sixth straight month that Cedar Rapids saw below-normal precipitation. The last time the city was above normal was in February. That month, the city officially received 2.47 inches (the normal is 1.22 for February). Since then here are the monthly totals, with the normal precipitation for the 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)
- August 1.95 (4.07)
Through August 31, Cedar Rapids is 11.61 inches below normal for the year, and the drought has begun to accelerate over the last several weeks.
Three Weeks Without Even a Trace of Precipitation
On Monday, August 14 the Eastern Iowa Airport received .05 of rain. That's the last day there's been measurable precipitation.
From August 15 through September 4, there hasn't even been a trace at the Eastern Iowa Airport. That's 21 consecutive days with nothing.
KCRG TV-9 meteorologist Corey Thompson tells me the longest period of time Cedar Rapids has gone without measurable precipitation is 26 days. He says it's happened twice:
December 23, 1930 through January 17, 1931
At the beginning of the Dust Bowl, Cedar Rapids saw no precipitation of any kind during this stretch.
January 7 through February 1, 2019
Cedar Rapids ended up having six months with above-normal precipitation that year.
It's Even More Unusual Because It's Summer
What makes the current stretch of no precipitation even more unusual is that, as Corey reminded me, the normal combined precipitation in January and February is 2.17 inches. In August and September, it's 7.47 inches.
Will We Set the Record?
It appears we'll tie the record for the longest dry spell at 26 days on Saturday. There is currently no rain chance in the TV-9 forecast through Saturday.
Will we set the record on Sunday? That day brings our next rain chance. Here's hoping that one of our seemingly rare rain chances pays off soon.