Drought Monitor and 2018 Rain (so far..)

No doubt, the beginning of the month of September was a wet one.  In fact, it put Waterloo and Dubuque over the top as far as yearly rainfall.  Below shows the big 4.  The top numbers are how much rain has fallen so far this year, compared to the yearly average (Jan. through Dec.).

The recent heavy rainfall has also put an end to the drought for much of Iowa.  This week, 6.41% of the state is experiencing drought, compared to 18.67% last week.


Posted under Drought, Precipitation Totals

This post was written by Kyle Kiel on September 13, 2018

August Rainfall (So Far…)

We’ve had quite a bit of rainfall this month, so far, across the KWWL viewing area.  There is more rain in the forecast.

An area of low pressure will track through southern Iowa and northern Missouri over the next 36 hours, bringing widespread rain to eastern Iowa.  There is quite a bit of moisture available in the atmosphere, so heavy rain is a potential.  Most areas will see between 0.50″ to 1.50″, but I would not be surprised to see some areas seeing more than 2.00″.  The rain moves in after midnight, and will continue through Monday night.

One area that could really use the rain is southern Iowa, where we have moderate to severe drought conditions. This is a snapshot from Friday, and you can see where most of the recent rain fell–outside the drought area.



Posted under Drought, Forecast Discussion, Precipitation Totals

This post was written by Kyle Kiel on August 19, 2018

24 Hour Rain Reports + Drought

Location County 24-Hr Rain
Waterloo Black Hawk 0.81
Dubuque Dubuque 1.84
Cedar Rapids Linn 0.35
Iowa City Johnson 0.34
Anamosa 1.9 SE Jones 0.18
Anamosa 3SSW, IA Jones 0.11
Asbury 0.4 SW Dubuque 0.32
BELLE PLAINE, IA Benton 0.10
Bellevue 0.3 SSW Jackson 0.35
Bellevue LD 12, IA Jackson 0.28
Cedar Falls 0.4 WNW Black Hawk 1.76
Cedar Falls 1.4 SSE Black Hawk 1.89
Cedar Rapids 2.7 NE Linn 0.04
Center Point 0.6 NNW Linn 0.47
Central City 6.7 W Linn 0.06
Central City, IA Linn 0.03
COGGON, IA Linn 0.13
CONRAD, IA Grundy 0.18
CRESCO 1NE, IA Howard 0.58
Decorah 4.9SE Winneshiek 0.26
Decorah 7.9 ENE Winneshiek 0.51
Dubuque #3, IA Dubuque 0.84
Dubuque L&D 11, IA Dubuque 0.74
Dysart 3.1 N Tama 0.49
Eldora 1.2 ENE Hardin 2.41
ELMA, IA Howard 0.41
Ely 0.5 SE Linn 0.01
Fairfax 4.0 NW Benton 0.86
FAIRFIELD, IA Jefferson 0.04
FULTON, IA Jackson 0.97
GARWIN, IA Tama 0.31
GRINNELL 3 SW, IA Poweshiek 0.04
GUTTENBERG L & D 10, IA Clayton 0.77
HAMPTON, IA Franklin 0.06
Independence 0.9 WNW Buchanan 0.20
IONIA 2W, IA Chickasaw 0.78
Iowa City 8.0 NE Johnson 0.05
IOWA CITY, IA Johnson 0.66
IOWA FALLS, IA Hardin 0.28
Kalona 7.3 NNW Johnson 0.01
Kesley, IA Butler 1.52
Lansing 4.1 NW Allamakee 0.38
LOWDEN, IA Cedar 0.08
Manchester 1.1 N Delaware 0.34
MANCHESTER NO. 2, IA Delaware 0.96
MAQUOKETA 4 W, IA Jackson 0.36
Marengo 2.6 SSW Iowa 0.01
Marengo 3.6 N Iowa 0.03
Marion 1.7 NNW Linn 0.01
Monticello, IA Jones 0.19
NASHUA 2SW, IA Floyd 0.70
New Hampton 0.3 NNW Chickasaw 0.75
New Hampton 0.4 SW Chickasaw 0.52
NEW HAMPTON, IA Chickasaw 0.60
Nora Springs 2.4 SSE Floyd 0.07
North Liberty 0.6 NW Johnson 0.30
OSAGE , IA Mitchell 0.24
Osage 4.7 E Mitchell 1.05
ST ANSGAR, IA Mitchell 0.20
TOLEDO 3 N, IA Tama 0.55
TRAER, IA Tama 0.27
TRIPOLI, IA Bremer 1.25
VOLGA 1NE, IA Clayton 0.38
Waucoma 3.2 S Fayette 1.27
Waukon 4SW, IA Allamakee 0.10
Wellman 4.0 E Washington 0.02
Wellsburg 3.7 E Grundy 1.70

Unfortunately, much of the rain stayed north of the current drought ongoing in southern Iowa. Below overlays the 24 hour rainfall totals over the drought.

The latest drought monitor indicates that abnormally dry and moderate drought conditions have spread across the south. The next chance for widespread rain that is expected to hit southern Iowa will be Sunday night into Monday.


Posted under Drought, Precipitation Totals

This post was written by Schnack on August 17, 2018

2012 vs 2018 Droughts

Another heat wave is tracking into Iowa this weekend which may have you wondering how many days we’ve seen 90° or higher?

Waterloo typically reaches 90° or higher around 21 days a year. This is based on the average from 1895 to 2018. Below shows how many times Waterloo has hit 90° or more in the past 10 years, including this year.

2008 0 1 3 0 0 4
2009 0 3 0 1 0 4
2010 2 0 3 5 0 10
2011 1 5 10 3 1 20
2012 2 7 21 10 3 43
2013 1 1 9 6 3 20
2014 0 0 1 3 1 5
2015 0 1 2 1 3 7
2016 0 5 1 1 1 8
2017 0 8 3 0 6 17
2018 4 7 3 14

It’s obvious to note that 2012 was an extreme year. Most of July saw 90°+ days , 5 days were 100° or more. 2012 was also the year we saw a flash drought develop across the Midwest. A flash drought is when an area sees high temperatures and rapidly decreasing soil moisture in a short amount of time. Many farmers compared the drought to the one that happened in the 80s. July 2012 only recorded 0.76″ of rain (normal: 4.91″). Below is the extent of the drought in 2012.

100% of the state was in severe drought conditions and 30.75% of that was in extreme drought conditions. To compare to 2018, 11% of the state in currently in moderate drought conditions and 0.84% is in extreme drought conditions.

Unfortunately, little rain is in the forecast over the next 7 days along with warmer than normal temperatures. The drought will likely continue to expand across southern Iowa.


Posted under Climate, Drought

This post was written by Schnack on August 3, 2018

Rain and Drought

Thursday night heavy rain fell across northeast Iowa. Not an area that needs the rain. The map above shows the rainfall estimate for the month of May through the 4th and on top of that is the Drought Monitor. The Drought Monitor shows the area that is dry and needs the rain the most.  Not much has fallen in a good portion of southeast Iowa…where it needs it the most. Here is a list of monthly rain totals for some locations across the state.

Burlington 0.90″
Cedar Rapids 0.92″
Dubuque 1.18″
Des Moines 1.81″
Estherville 1.27″
Iowa City 1.72″
Lamoni 1.12″
Marshalltown 1.96″
Mason City 3.25″
Ottumwa 0.43″
Sioux City 1.22″
Waterloo 0.98″


Posted under Drought, Precipitation Totals

This post was written by Schnack on May 4, 2018

Dry Conditions Across Eastern Iowa

We’ve had quite a stretch of dry weather across eastern Iowa.  October and November were generally dry months, and now that we are about halfway through December, we’ve only had a few hundredths of an inch of precipitation.  Parts of the KWWL viewing area are in the Abnormally Dry to Moderate Drought category.

The Weather Prediction Center’s 7 day precipitation forecast does not paint much moisture for Iowa.  However, we are watching the potential for rain and/or snow late next week.  It’s still too early in the forecast for details.


Posted under Drought, Forecast Discussion

This post was written by Kyle Kiel on December 14, 2017

Really Dry or Really Wet

The total rainfall for the last three months has gone back and forth. September was really dry. October was really wet and now November is going to wind up really dry.

Here are the rain totals for the last three months in Waterloo.

The chart below shows when and how much rain fell during the above mentioned months.

The latest drought monitor from last week shows there are still some dry locations across parts of Iowa.



Posted under Drought, Precipitation Totals

This post was written by Schnack on November 22, 2017

Weather’s effect on Foliage

It is that time of the year again. Temperatures are cooler. Days are shorter. It is also a little more colorful, as well.

This year, leaves across eastern Iowa peaked a little later than normal.

There are many reasons why this happened. It all boils down to one major factor: the weather. Our weather patterns in September and October influence just how bright the colors of the trees get…and when they reach their peak for viewing.

In a period of drought, leaves may fall before developing any color. Strong winds (from tropical storms, thunderstorms or a potent front) may also leave the trees to the same fate.

Above normal temperatures postpone the fall color and subsequently the leaves falling. Each season’s foliage is different due to the combination of dry and wet days leading up to the time of peak color.

With cooler temperatures, expect more color and then more leaves to rake across the area.

For more information, click here.

To find the latest fall color report, click here.



Posted under Drought, Fall Colors, Photo

This post was written by Rachael Peart on October 23, 2017

Temperatures, Drought Improvement and Elevated Fire Danger


Here is a look at where the weather instruments are located at the Waterloo Airport.

Low temperatures this morning were mainly in the upper 30s to the mid 40s across eastern Iowa and Black Hawk County. The exception was the Waterloo Airport reported a low of 34 degrees.

There are other weather instruments that are available to us in Waterloo and Cedar Falls area. The map below shows those weather stations reported low temperatures between 38-44. These temperatures are more similar to other reports surrounding Black Hawk County. There are certain nights the temperature at the Waterloo airport is much colder than everywhere surrounding it and this morning was one of those times.


The latest Drought Monitor was released this morning and the conditions continue to improve.

The first map below is the Drought Monitor showing a small portion of Iowa now in drought conditions.

The map below shows the Drought Monitor over the amount of rainfall for the month of October. Notice the lowest rain amounts are where we have some dry conditions still.


There was a moderate to high grassland fire danger today, and will be again Friday, across parts of northern Iowa. Winds are forecast to be stronger Friday from the south. Winds will increase in speed Friday night and remain windy Saturday. The rain chance doesn’t move into the eastern part of the state until the afternoon and evening. Use extra caution in the fields Friday and Saturday.

The cropland fire danger index is higher and more widespread today and is expected to be that way for Friday  Saturday until rain Saturday. Please use caution in the fields for the next 48 hours.


National High and Low Temperature  Thursday, October 19, 2017

99 at El Centro NAS, CA
99 at Ocotillo Wells, CA

11 at Bodie State Park, CA


Posted under Drought, Fall Colors, Fire, Temperatures

This post was written by Schnack on October 19, 2017

Improvement in Drought Conditions

The recent rainfall has really put a dent in the drought conditions across the state of Iowa.

The latest US Drought Monitor indicated that 71.33% of Iowa is not experiencing any drought conditions.  That’s an improvement from just 58.80% last week.

More rain is in the forecast Saturday into early Sunday.


Posted under Drought, Precipitation Totals

This post was written by Kyle Kiel on October 19, 2017