Counties with the worst droughts in Iowa

Written by:
August 23, 2023
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Counties with the worst droughts in Iowa

Nearly one-third of the continental U.S. is currently experiencing moderate to exceptional drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Parts of the West are currently experiencing a brief reprieve from its driest period of the last 1,200 years, but conditions are worsening in the Northwest and Southwest.

In periods of drought, levels of major reservoirs and rivers can fall dramatically. Groundwater systems too feel the effects, and shrinking water supplies impact agriculture, hydropower generation, and wildfire risk.

Periods of drought have intensified and become more frequent in recent years due to climate change. Scientists predict that even in low emissions scenarios, much of the U.S. will be drier by the end of the century.

Stacker cited data from U.S. Drought Monitor to identify the counties in Iowa with the worst droughts in the week leading up to August 21, 2023. Counties are listed in order of percent of the area in drought conditions. Abnormally dry is not considered to be a drought, but is included as a separate data point. Additional data for the state overall is included. Any counties which are not experiencing drought are not included in the slideshow. Counties are listed in order of drought severity, but the list does not necessarily include every county in Iowa which is experiencing drought.

Iowa statistics

- Abnormally dry: 24.5%
- Area in drought: 74.4% (#3 nationally)
--- Moderate drought: 41.1%
--- Severe drought: 30.3%
--- Extreme drought: 3.1%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Plymouth County

- Abnormally dry: 28.4%
- Area in drought: 71.6%
--- Moderate drought: 58.7%
--- Severe drought: 12.9%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Pottawattamie County

- Abnormally dry: 23.2%
- Area in drought: 76.8%
--- Moderate drought: 30.4%
--- Severe drought: 46.5%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Montgomery County

- Abnormally dry: 15.1%
- Area in drought: 84.9%
--- Moderate drought: 81.6%
--- Severe drought: 3.3%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Calhoun County

- Abnormally dry: 13.5%
- Area in drought: 86.5%
--- Moderate drought: 70.2%
--- Severe drought: 16.2%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Cedar County

- Abnormally dry: 11.9%
- Area in drought: 88.1%
--- Moderate drought: 71.9%
--- Severe drought: 16.2%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Keokuk County

- Abnormally dry: 7.9%
- Area in drought: 92.1%
--- Moderate drought: 30.5%
--- Severe drought: 48.4%
--- Extreme drought: 13.2%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Marion County

- Abnormally dry: 6.7%
- Area in drought: 93.3%
--- Moderate drought: 80.5%
--- Severe drought: 12.8%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Iowa County

- Abnormally dry: 5.9%
- Area in drought: 94.1%
--- Moderate drought: 44.5%
--- Severe drought: 49.6%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Louisa County

- Abnormally dry: 0.9%
- Area in drought: 99.1%
--- Moderate drought: 24.1%
--- Severe drought: 75.0%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Harrison County

- Abnormally dry: 0.2%
- Area in drought: 99.8%
--- Moderate drought: 99.4%
--- Severe drought: 0.4%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Lyon County

- Abnormally dry: 0.2%
- Area in drought: 99.8%
--- Moderate drought: 87.9%
--- Severe drought: 11.9%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Henry County

- Abnormally dry: 0.1%
- Area in drought: 99.9%
--- Moderate drought: 12.4%
--- Severe drought: 87.5%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Jones County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 96.7%
--- Severe drought: 3.2%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Crawford County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 96.9%
--- Severe drought: 3.1%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Cherokee County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 93.8%
--- Severe drought: 6.2%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Worth County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 86.0%
--- Severe drought: 14.0%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Pocahontas County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 69.2%
--- Severe drought: 30.8%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Grundy County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 53.2%
--- Severe drought: 46.8%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Mills County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 53.1%
--- Severe drought: 46.9%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Floyd County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 46.8%
--- Severe drought: 53.2%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Tama County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 44.8%
--- Severe drought: 55.2%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Sac County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 44.0%
--- Severe drought: 56.0%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Buena Vista County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 39.5%
--- Severe drought: 60.5%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Butler County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 38.3%
--- Severe drought: 61.7%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Mitchell County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 23.6%
--- Severe drought: 76.4%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Ida County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 23.6%
--- Severe drought: 76.4%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Delaware County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 23.3%
--- Severe drought: 76.7%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Monona County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 19.3%
--- Severe drought: 80.7%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Clayton County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 6.1%
--- Severe drought: 93.9%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Linn County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 1.1%
--- Severe drought: 98.9%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Washington County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 0.2%
--- Severe drought: 99.8%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Winneshiek County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 0.0%
--- Severe drought: 100.0%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Johnson County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 0.0%
--- Severe drought: 100.0%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Howard County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 0.0%
--- Severe drought: 100.0%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Fayette County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 0.0%
--- Severe drought: 100.0%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Chickasaw County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 0.0%
--- Severe drought: 100.0%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Buchanan County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 0.0%
--- Severe drought: 100.0%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Bremer County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 0.0%
--- Severe drought: 100.0%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Black Hawk County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 0.0%
--- Severe drought: 100.0%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Benton County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 0.0%
--- Severe drought: 100.0%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Allamakee County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 0.0%
--- Severe drought: 100.0%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Woodbury County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 0.0%
--- Severe drought: 89.7%
--- Extreme drought: 10.3%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Van Buren County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 18.2%
--- Severe drought: 65.7%
--- Extreme drought: 16.1%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Wayne County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 61.0%
--- Severe drought: 22.1%
--- Extreme drought: 16.9%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Jefferson County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 0.0%
--- Severe drought: 81.5%
--- Extreme drought: 18.5%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Lucas County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 31.3%
--- Severe drought: 48.4%
--- Extreme drought: 20.4%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Appanoose County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 41.1%
--- Severe drought: 21.9%
--- Extreme drought: 37.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Monroe County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 0.0%
--- Severe drought: 62.6%
--- Extreme drought: 37.4%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Wapello County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 0.0%
--- Severe drought: 11.5%
--- Extreme drought: 88.5%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Davis County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 0.0%
--- Severe drought: 4.2%
--- Extreme drought: 95.8%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

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