It’s bad and it’s getting worse. That’s the only thing you can take away from the latest drought update. This morning, the ENTIRE state of Iowa is now under a moderate drought (seen above in the lightest shade of brown). But nearly 2/3rds of the state is now in that darker area, where severe drought conditions are reported. This is a worsening situation that, especially for eastern Iowa, is expected to only get worse.
Short range forecasts indicate this drought could turn severe, furthering the impact on the crops and also having the potential for affecting local water supplies, especially if the heat waves continues. One example of this is Coralville, where city leaders have put in place voluntary water restrictions. If residents don’t cut back on their usage enough, those request will become mandatory.
We’re also seeing most counties institute burn bans, which can carry hefty fines if violated. The Iowa State Fire Marshal calls the conditions out there a “tinder box.” And he’s right. It wouldn’t take much to trigger a dangerous field or grass fire here in the state right now.
And then there’s the crops, conditions are getting worse by the day and with each passing week, the amount of corn that will make it to harvest gets smaller and smaller. This is a story that will continue to dominate the headlines for weeks and months to come. By this fall the scope of the agricultural disaster will begin to come into view. State and federal leaders are already urging Congress to take action to help farmers prepare for disaster.
It’s not the disaster most people think about. But for those affected, it can be just as devastating.