The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says groundwater conditions are improving, but more precipitation is needed. Their monthly water summery shows that the streamflow for areas in northeast Marion County remains below normal, and our shallow groundwater is also near or at seasonal lows. The shallow groundwater levels have improved month-over-month mainly due to less demand, but they remain below levels from last year. Overall in 2012, Marion County received about 8-12 fewer inches of precipitation than normal.
State Climatologist Harry Hillaker says that although we’ve had nearly normal precipitation levels so far this winter, it won’t make much of a difference for this year’s agricultural season. He says that the frozen soil of winter doesn’t take in much moisture, but this week might be an exception. Hillaker says that with an extended winter thaw there’s a chance for the soil to unfreeze long enough to take in the moisture from melting snow. Marion County is expected to have above freezing temperatures in the 40’s through Saturday.