Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

October 4, 2012

Drought shifts sharply in Iowa

MATT MILNER
CNHI

OTTUMWA — Drought worsened sharply in Iowa over the past week, with three-quarters of the state now in extreme drought conditions.

The shift was an increase of 10 percentage points from the figures released last week by the U.S. Drought Monitor. It was particularly noticeable in southern Iowa, where Mahaska and Marion counties went from severe drought to extreme drought.

In southeast Iowa, the eastern half of Keokuk County is not yet in extreme drought, nor is most of Jefferson County. The northeast corner of Van Buren County escapes as well.

The only good news on this week's report is that the portion of the state under exceptional drought conditions, the worst on the monitor's scale, remained unchanged. Just over 2.5 percent of Iowa is in that category, and it is confined to the northwestern corner of the state.

While showers and scattered rain are in the forecast for southeast Iowa through Friday, the rain is not expected to ease conditions significantly.