Ottumwa has seen 2.25 inches of rain in the first half of August, nearing the average of 2.36 inches of rain the city should see through August 16.
Thursday morning’s storm brought through 0.61 inches, according to the National Weather Service.
Mark Carlton, crops field specialist for ISU Extension in Monroe County, said he’s not sure if the drought has ended.
“As I was listening to the heavy rain, wind and a little bit of hail at 5 a.m. [Thursday], I thought so, but then when I went out and looked at the rain guage, there was only 0.5 inches,” Carlton said.
According to the drought map released Thursday by the U.S. Drought Monitor, the majority of the state is still in extreme drought, though more counties have dropped to a severe drought classification since last week, including the northern half of Wapello County.
Elwynn Taylor, Iowa State University climatologist, previously told Carlton that El Niño is in full swing but that water is down off of South America.
“El Niño normally causes rainfall up here in the Midwest,” Carlton said. “[Taylor] said it took awhile for the effects of El Niño to get here.”
After speaking with Taylor this week about planting some cover crops in southern Iowa and the possibility of getting adequate rainfall to get the seeds to germinate and get good growth this fall, Taylor said southern Iowa has a 50/50 chance of seeing adequate rainfall this fall.
“The rainfall we had [Thursday] morning was pretty scattered,” Carlton said. “We seriously need some significant rainfall to finish this crop out, especially the soybeans.”
Taylor could not be reached for comment as of press time.
Rainfall from April to July:
• In July, Ottumwa saw 0.9 inches of rain, 3.57 inches below normal.
• In June, Ottumwa saw 3.24 inches of rain, 1.85 inches below normal. The majority was seen on the June 16 storm that slammed the city.
• In May, Ottumwa saw 3.03 inches of rain, 1.68 inches below normal.
• In April, Ottumwa saw 4.04 inches of rain, 0.64 inches above normal.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story indicated Ottumwa averages 2.36 inches of rain in August. That amount is the average through August 16.