My First Hand Look at the Drought & River Levels

While the drought continues across the Midwest, the rain and cooler temperatures Sunday in Iowa and northern Illinois marked a significant change from the weather conditions we’ve experienced most of the summer.  The high temperature only reached 72° in the Quad Cities and 0.61″ of rain fell Sunday (0.78″ with the additional rain that fell early Monday morning) at the airport in Moline, Illinois.

Sunday’s 0.61″ was the heaviest one day rainfall officially at the Quad City International since 0.61″ fell on June 16, 2012.  And, the good news is that another soaking rain is possible Thursday with cooler temperatures to follow.

This rain is a Godsend to area yards and gardens, but it comes too late for many farmers.  Some of them have already mowed down their corn crop for feed.

It will also help low area rivers, lakes, and streams.

The Mississippi River in the Quad Cities is at a very low river level and it’s even worse to our south.  River traffic on the Mississippi River from St. Louis, Missouri, to New Orleans, Louisiana, is being called “extremely difficult”.

This weekend, I was in Fort Dodge, Iowa, which is located in the northwestern part of the state, and I was shocked at how low the Des Moines River was there.  While the river is very low at 3.37 feet, it’s not at a record low-level yet.  That is 2 feet and was reached back on November 3, 1955.

I want to share some of the pictures of how low the Des Moines River is there in Fort Dodge, Iowa, now.

It was very interesting being able to walk out onto the broken, caked river bottom that just last summer was a typical river with water flowing toward the dam.

Those pictures were from yesterday (August 12, 2012).

Here is what the same river looked like last summer (July 23, 2011) when I was there.

Like eastern Iowa and northern Illinois, central and western Iowa is seeing rainfall amounts more than 5″ below average for the year.  (The Quad Cities are more than 8″ below average for 2012.)

It’s going to take several decent rain events over the next few weeks and months to restore the water deficit we’re facing now.

While rainfall over the next few months, overall, are expected to be below average, at least with the cooler than average temperatures forecast this week, evaporation rates will not be as high.

Personally, I say “bring on the rain” later this week.  Let’s all get out and do our rain dance.



One response to this post.

  1. New Windsor Rodeo Thursday-Saturday the 16th-18th-they will ride in the rain!!


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