ISU Extension official: full recovery from drought could take three years

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

October 22nd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

An expert with Iowa State University Extension is warning that this year’s drought is so severe, recovery may be years away. Cathann Kress is calling the drought a “super slow-motion disaster.” Kress says Iowa crops pulled what little moisture there was out of the ground this year and that moisture won’t come back anytime soon. “It takes so long for the subsoil moisture to rebuild, so if we look at the other droughts like this – there’s been three others in this century…they all took three years to fully recover from,” Kress said.

As much as 18 inches of precipitation is needed to fully recharge Iowa subsoils, according to Kress. That’s not likely to before next Spring. “The average (precipitation) between October and April is about 12 inches, so even if we hit average – which most models show we won’t – but even if we hit average, we’d be below what it is we’re predicting that we need,” Kress said.

Kress was at the statehouse last week and warned lawmakers it’s hard to estimate the economic impact of the drought, as well as the effects on state tax receipts.

(Radio Iowa)