Oskaloosa.com

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March 14, 2013

Iowa drought retreats

OTTUMWA — The worst drought in decades seems to be retreating from Iowa.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor almost a quarter of the state, including most of southeast Iowa, has fallen to the "abnormally dry" stage. That's the lowest category the monitor uses to classify drought.

After a largely static February and beginning of March, the map shifted significantly in the week ended March 12. Less than half the state is now in severe drought, down from 53 percent in last week's report.

The portion of Iowa in extreme drought conditions has been slashed to 21 percent, down from nearly one third a week ago.

Changes regionally are less dramatic but still show improvement. Well over half of the Midwest is now in either the abnormally dry category or out of any drought category.

This is the first time since the July 10, 2012 report that any portion of Iowa was rated below the moderate drought category.

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