41°FOvercastFull Forecast

Rain, rain, stay all day — we need it

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013 11:08 a.m. CDT

As depressing as a rainy day can be, I was so very happy to see the skies finally open up this morning, and give our lawn a really good soaking.

We desperately need it. A lot more than perhaps many folks realize.

We entered 2013 having endured a 2012 that gave us about 10 inches less precipitation than we usually have. By the start of May, it looked like we were on track to correct the extreme drought conditions in Iowa.

May itself almost singlehandedly got us back on positive ground for soil moisture. But, in mid-June, it was like the faucet was turned off.

While we never really had an official “dry spell,” where no measurable precipitation falls for weeks on end, the rain we did get was far less than what we needed here in Iowa, both for crops and for in-town residents’ lawns. 

By the end of August, our rain surplus for the year had retreated entirely to another deficit.

On Sept. 1, we were 1.04 inches of precipitation below the historical average. Tack that on to the 10 inches we were behind in 2012, and you can see where the panic may begin to set in for farmers.

Prior to last Sunday, the last measurable rainfall had been on Sept. 1. For the month of September, as of this morning — before the skies opened a little — we were 1.72 inches behind the monthly average.

In other words, we need this rain very desperately. Yes, it may delay the harvest, and the crops will likely get little benefit from the extra water.

But for the long-term, we need to improve our soil moisture conditions. So, as the old saying goes, It never rains, but it pours.

At least I hope so.

• • •

If you’re reading this, thank a teacher. If you’re reading this in English, thank a soldier, sailor, airman or Marine.