Although most of Iowa received spotty rains, there were 5.3 days suitable for field work during the week ending April 26, 2020, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. In contrast, it was mid-June before Iowa farmers had a week with 5.3 days suitable for fieldwork in 2019.
Topsoil moisture levels rated 1 percent very short, 5 percent short, 85 percent adequate and 9 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 0 percent very short, 2 percent short, 87 percent adequate and 11 percent surplus.
Iowa farmers planted over one-third of the expected corn crop during the week ending April 26, for a total of 39 percent planted. Soybean planting got underway with 9 percent of the expected crop planted, 10 days ahead of last year and 1 week ahead of the average. Only 20 percent of Iowa’s expected oat crop remains to be planted, with just 22 percent of the oat crop emerged.
Pasture condition rated 1 percent very poor, 7 percent poor, 28 percent fair, 54 percent good and 10 percent excellent. Cattle have been moved onto pastures in some areas. Warmer and drier conditions improved livestock conditions.
IOWA PRELIMINARY WEATHER SUMMARY
Provided by Justin Glisan, Ph.D., State Climatologist
Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship
Reports from the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and maps from the Midwestern Regional Climate Center reflect data collected from 7:00 A.M. Central Time on April 20, 2020, through 7:00 A.M. Central Time on April 26, 2020.
Iowa continued to experience unseasonably dry conditions even though multiple disturbances brought measurable rainfall to most of the state. Departures between 0.50 to 1.00 inch were reported across portions of Iowa. Average temperatures rebounded from the previous reporting period with warmer conditions reported across the state’s western two-thirds; near to slightly below average temperatures were observed in eastern Iowa. The statewide average temperature was 52.6 degrees, 0.50 degree below normal.
High pressure over the region left mostly sunny skies across Iowa through Sunday (19th) with a northerly wind holding daytime highs in the mid 50s north to low 60s south. Cloud cover increased into the early morning hours of Monday (20th) as a small disturbance brought showers across portions of western and central Iowa. A second wave of light rain moved through northern and eastern Iowa later in the day in advance of a weak cold front. Rain totals were generally under 0.10 inch, although Chariton (Lucas County) reported 0.41 inch from a heavier shower. Gusty westerly winds increased into the evening hours as highs topped out in the mid to upper 60s. Behind the front, overnight lows dipped into the 30s across northern Iowa; southern Iowa stations reported low 40s. Tuesday (21st) was a quiet and cooler than average day statewide with light, variable winds and mostly sunny conditions. As a low pressure propagated through southern Minnesota through the night and into Wednesday (22nd), southwesterly winds built in, helping daytimes highs reach into the mid to upper 70s; scattered low 80s were also observed at some stations.
The statewide average high was 77 degrees, 13 degrees above normal. Spotty showers and thunderstorms popped up during the late afternoon and persisted into early Thursday (23rd) morning. Rain totals at 7:00 am were highest in northeastern Iowa, where stronger storms with moderate rainfall were observed. Several stations between Cedar Rapids (Linn County) and Dubuque (Dubuque County) reported totals over 0.50 inch with Postville (Allamakee County) reporting 0.78 inch.
For the rest of Thursday, mostly sunny skies allowed highs to reach the upper 70s in western Iowa, though cloud cover held temperatures in the 60s in eastern Iowa. Spotty showers formed in western Iowa after sunset and continued to cross the state into Friday (24th). A secondary disturbance moving through Missouri brought measurable rain across southern Iowa. This complex slowly pushed out of southeastern Iowa early on Saturday (25th) morning. Rain totals were highest across Iowa’s southern two tiers of counties, where slower cells produced heavier rain. Randolph (Fremont County) reported 0.70 inch while Keokuk Municipal Airport (Lee County) reported 1.12 inches; Corning (Adams County) reported 1.98 inches. Cloud cover cleared early through late morning until a line of slow-moving showers and thunderstorms pushed into western Iowa. Daytime highs were generally in the mid 60s while lows into Sunday (26th) fell into the upper 30s and lower 40s. The statewide average low was 38 degrees, three degrees below normal. Rain totals at 7:00 am were between 0.10 – 0.20 inch in western Iowa with a handful of stations reporting above 0.30 inch; Little Sioux (Harrison County) and Sibley (Osceola County) observed 0.37 inch.
Weekly precipitation totals ranged from no accumulation at stations in north-central Iowa to 2.20 inches in Story City (Story County). The statewide weekly average precipitation was 0.31 inch while the normal is 0.93 inch. The week’s high temperature of 81 degrees was reported at numerous stations on the 22nd, on average 19 degrees above normal. Estherville Municipal Airport (Emmet County) reported the week’s low temperature of 23 degrees on the 21st, 14 degrees below normal. Four-inch soil temperatures were in the low to mid 50s as of Sunday.