John Ahlers of Le Mars looks to the horizon at the setting sun wondering when the next rain clouds will form. Ahlers, like many Plymouth County farmers, say they need a good “soaking rain” of at least an inch in the near future.
(Le Mars) — Warm temperatures and dry conditions have dominated the weather pattern for the last few weeks, causing farmers to be concerned as crops are nearing the critical pollination stage. The recent dry conditions is also a
concern for area fire officials as they contemplate whether or not to impose a county-wide burn band. Several grass and ditch fires have been reported during the last couple of weeks, some were caused by the misuse of firecrackers.
Members of the Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department extinguish a grass fire started by a firecracker near Lambert Lumber Saturday afternoon.
Although Le Mars has received trace amounts of precipitation, including sprinkles that fell Saturday morning, you need to go back to May 20th since the “Ice Cream Capital” received a substantial amount of rain. At that date,
KLEM radio recorded eight tenths of an inch had fallen in the rain gauge. Since that time, Le Mars has received rainfall amounts of only about a tenth or two tenths of an inch. According to information provided by the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Le Mars is currently running at about the same level for received precipitation compared to 2012, the last time the area had a dry spell. Normally for this time of year, this region would receive nearly 7 1/2 inches of rain since May 1st. So far, Le Mars has received only about five inches of rain. The U-S Drought Monitor says 50 percent of Iowa is now considered at
least “abnormally dry” and about nine percent falls into the “moderate dry” category. Most of northwest Iowa, including Plymouth County, falls into the “abnormally dry” region. Southeast Iowa is also reporting “abnormally dry” conditions. Reports of hit and miss rains have occurred throughout the region. When visiting with area farmers, some will say they received a couple of tenths of rain, while neighbors living a short distance away say they received nothing.
Drought Monitor Map as of July 3rd. Key: yellow represents “abnormally dry” Tan colored areas are considered “moderately dry”.