Rainfall in Iowa, at 1.57 inches, was wetter than normal in December - about one-fourth inch above normal. Because of recent rains, some streams are now showing normal flow, especially in the western portion of the state, Department of Natural Resources officials told the Pilot-Tribune this week. However, virtually all of Iowa will continue to be considered in "moderate to extreme drought conditions" until the subsoil can be recharged.
Buena Vista County is considered in the "extreme" range, according to the latest DNR charts, with 9.3 less inches less 2012 participation than in a normal year.
In the Buena Vista County area, the subsoil profile is considered full with about 10 inches of useable moisture in the topsoil.
Average streamflow in the state for the 2012 water year (Oct. 2011 through Sept. 2012) was only about 60 percent of normal flow -- reflecting the overall dry conditions statewide. The Raccoon River, which originates in Buena Vista County, is among the worst in condition with only 24 percent of its normal streamflow.
Lake level is still off about eight inches in the Okobojis and Big Spirit Lake, Clear Lake over 15 inches. Storm Lake was not listed in the report, but had been estimated at 34 inches below the Lakeside dam (the unofficial "normal" mark) in early November. At that time, the Iowa Great Lakes were about 16 inches low.