Iowa storm gives some drought relief

Dec. 27, 2012 at 3:28 PM

DES MOINES, Iowa, Dec. 27 (UPI) -- A blizzard in Iowa before Christmas was some help to the state's drought status but most of the state remains in "severe" or "extreme" drought, officials say.

The U.S. Drought Monitor said, despite the rain, snow and ice last week, 90 percent of the state remains in those two drought categories, The Des Moines Register reported Thursday.

Northwestern Iowa is still the most drought-stricken region, officials said.

Precipitation after Dec. 1 usually has little value because the ground is frozen, climatologists said, but Iowa's relatively warm December had left soil temperatures slightly above freezing, allowing some drought relief from the storm.

By Christmas Day the "severe drought" regions of the state fell to 58.4 percent from 69.1 percent the week before, while the "extreme drought" status that had covered 41.8 percent of Iowa was at 32.1 percent, the U.S. Drought Monitor said.

The Drought Monitor is a joint project of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the National Weather Service and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

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