Rain!

Scott Foens

Thunderstorms rolling through Linn County this morning dropped more than an inch of rain this morning. The National Weather Service reported 1.12 inches with local spotters experiencing slightly higher amounts.

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Rain slows commuter traffic this morning on Interstate 380Iowa Department of Transportation

This morning’s storm follows a system that came through the area two days ago leaving almost one half an inch of precipitation over the region’s parched ground. To date, this region’s rainfall is nearly thirteen inches below normal since June 1 with a twenty-five inch deficit since the January 1.

The University of Nebraska Lincoln National Drought Monitor shows about forty percent of Linn County experiencing severe drought while the rest falls into the moderate drought category. “Topsoil moisture levels in Central and East Central Iowa were the lowest in the State, with more than 80% rated short to very short,” according to the Iowa Department of Agriculture’s August 16 crop report.

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Drought conditions expanding across IowaUniv of Nebraska Lincoln National Drought Monitor

Though precipitation was welcome for browning lawns and stressed trees newly planted after last years derecho, the timing of this morning’s rain created extra challenges on this first day of school for children walking to school or riding the bus. Kids stayed dry by waiting in their parents’ cars as vehicles crowded student pickup locations. Outdoor commemorations moved indoors or happened in the back seats of parents cars.

Heavy rains caused a series of crashes along portions of I-380 snarling morning traffic, forcing commuters into long delays or finding alternate routes to work.

Forecast models suggest increased unsettled weather over the next ten days with chances of precipitation tomorrow morning, Thursday evening and Sunday evening. Rains occurring every three or four days would be a pleasant change from the persistently dry conditions experienced during the past four months.

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