Published April 25, 2013
DES MOINES, Iowa – Rain that moved across the Midwest in the past week helped ease drought conditions for some farmers, but not everyone, according to the latest drought monitor report released Thursday.
The report from the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln said the rain that caused flooding in some areas of the Midwest helped decrease the drought area from the upper Midwest into the western corn belt and central portions of the Rockies and Great Plains.
But rain also brought muddy fields in Iowa, Nebraska and Illinois, which could delay planting.
"Right now we're wishing it would dry up so we can get in the field," said Jerry Main, 74, who plants corn and soybeans on about 500 acres near Fairfield in southeast Iowa.
Main's farm has had more than 9 inches of rain since April 18. Farmers in his area prefer to plant corn by May 10 at the latest.
The drought monitor report, which measures conditions for the seven days up to Tuesday morning, shows no drought in much of eastern Iowa. It also shows the abnormally dry and moderate drought areas in Minnesota into the Upper Peninsula of Michigan have been eased by the moisture.
From southeastern Minnesota into central Iowa, northwestern Missouri, and southeastern Nebraska, precipitation totals of 2 to 6 inches resulted in additional, widespread reductions in drought intensity and coverage.
Precipitation totals were somewhat less in northwestern Iowa and northeastern Nebraska, where long-term moderate to severe drought persists.
Drought eased in northeastern Texas, but moderate to exceptional drought continued and intensified from western Texas and southeastern New Mexico into the Oklahoma panhandle.
Moderate to heavy rain also eased drought in eastern and north-central portions of Kansas.
But exceptional drought was expanded in the southeastern corner of Colorado and there also was some expansion from central California into the Great Basin and central Rockies.
Follow David Pitt on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/davepitt