An area of east-central Iowa that is suffering from exceptional drought — the worst dryness designation — more than doubled in size in the past week, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.
Dry conditions were mostly unchanged across the state in the past week aside from that area, according to a new report that was current as of Tuesday morning. The report does not include the widespread rainfall Tuesday night of at least a half inch in much of western Iowa.
Last week was largely devoid of significant rainfall, aside from in the counties that border Wisconsin and northern Illinois. A recent U.S. Department of Agriculture report said Iowa averaged .21 inches of precipitation, compared with the normally expected seven-tenths of an inch.
Exceptional drought notably expanded east from Benton County into most of Linn County. That worst drought designation now touches parts of eight counties, ranging from tiny corners of two counties to nearly all of Benton.
A new season outlook from the federal Climate Prediction Center says drought is likely to persist in nearly all of Iowa through the end of the year. That is a more pessimistic view than the center took last month, when it predicted drought conditions might lift from much of the state.