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Winter Weather in Iowa

Winter Weather in Iowa

Post submitted by Jeff Zogg, Senior Service Hydrologist for the National Weather Service in Des Moines

This winter, we have experienced a mix of snow, rain, sunshine, and even warm temperatures. With this variability across the state, it is important to document what we’ve evidenced so far and to anticipate the weather to come over the upcoming months. Below is a brief overview of the recent, current, and anticipated weather and water conditions for Iowa.

The past 30 days have featured warm and wet conditions across the Iowa region.  Average temperatures have been 3 to 6 degrees above normal.  Precipitation has been 200 percent or more of normal levels across much of the state.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, as of January 19th, stream flows across Iowa have been above to much above normal.  According to NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, soil moisture was above to much above normal across much of the state—with near-record high values for this time of year across far northern and northeastern Iowa.  In contrast, the Drought Monitor stated that abnormally dry conditions existed across southeastern Iowa.

The latest outlook for February calls for equal chances of near, above or below normal temperatures for the state—which means that all three outcomes are equally possible. The normal statewide average temperature for Iowa during the month of February is 24.6 degrees. Aside from a wet signal across far eastern Iowa, there are also equal chances of near, above or below normal precipitation levels across the state.  The normal statewide average precipitation for Iowa at this time of year is 1.1 inches.

For February through April, there are also equal chances of near, above or below normal temperature (statewide normal average is 36.8 degrees).  A wet signal is indicated across the northeast quarter of the state for precipitation, with equal chances elsewhere.  The seasonal drought outlook calls for no change to the abnormally dry conditions evident across the southeastern portions of the state. The normal average precipitation at the statewide level at this time is 6.7 inches.

The National Weather Service will release two spring flood outlooks this season.  They are scheduled for February 16th and March 2nd.  Both outlooks will be released by 5pm each day and will be available on the NWS Des Moines Website at

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