Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

January 17, 2013

Wetter weather on horizon?

MATT MILNER
CNHI

OTTUMWA — The National Weather Service says eastern Iowa could be on the cusp of wetter weather.

On Thursday, the service released its three-month outlook for February-April . The outlook breaks down into two components: Temperature and precipitation. The latter outlook suggests Iowa could see some relief from the drought that began last summer.

The vast majority of the country will see normal or dry weather, according to the outlook, but a jelly bean-shaped area centered over Wisconsin is expected to see wetter weather. That area includes Iowa in a line that runs roughly from the northwestern corner of the state to the southeastern corner.

Any precipitation would be good news. Since June 2012, southeast Iowa is 9.3 inches below the normal level of precipitation. The drought clobbered Iowa's corn crop and hurt soybeans.

That may be changing. It came too late for the 2012 harvest, but two of the last three months of 2012, October and December, ran above normal. A moderately wet pattern, as the outlook suggests for the early spring, would help recharge the soil as the planting season begins.

Temperatures for the next three months are a coin toss, with the National Weather Service saying there is an equal chance of the area being above or below normal. The northeast, southern plains and southwest are expected to be above normal, while the northwest and far northern plains are expected to be cooler.

You can see the outlook by clicking this link.