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October 2010 Was Much Warmer, Drier Than October 2009

October 2010 Was Much Warmer, Drier Than October 2009

This year is still in the top 10 for precipitation, but despite an extremely wet summer in 2010, a record for the year as a whole is unlikely.

October 2010 ended warm and dry, quite a bit different from a year ago when October was much cooler and wetter than normal. October 2010 finished with a statewide average of 54.1 degrees, making it the 36th-warmest October in 138 years of record keeping, says state climatologist Harry Hillaker.

Less than one inch of precipitation occurred statewide during all of October 2010, making October 2010 the 15th-driest October on record in Iowa. October 2009 was the third-coldest October on record, with an average temperature statewide of 44.8 degrees. Precipitation for the month of October 2009 was 6.42 inches for Iowa, tying for the wettest October ever - with October 1881.

For awhile it looked like the entire year of 2010 might be Iowa's wettest year on record - with all the rain and flooding that occurred in the summer. But a dry October means that isn't likely to happen now.

Despite summer rain, 2010 likely won't be Iowa's wettest year ever

Hillaker says the state record for precipitation continues to be 1993 with an average of 48.22 inches. So far this year, the statewide average precipitation is 41.74 inches. If it doesn't rain any more between now and the end of 2010—the year will rank ninth on the list of Iowa's wettest years. However if Iowa receives an average amount of precipitation during November and December, 2010 would end up second to 1993 in terms of wettest years.

Last year the temperature didn't get above 80 degrees after September 27. But in October 2010, temperatures climbed to 80 or above somewhere in Iowa on 10 different days. The National Weather Service says November 2010 may be an average month for temperatures and precipitation. "It looks like this November will be about normal or maybe slightly warmer than normal," he says.

As November began, Iowa farmers were wrapping up their 2010 harvest. Farmers are now focusing on fall fieldwork. Primary activities include tilling fields, installing tile and baling corn stalks. Growers are also moving on with anhydrous application as soil temperatures have begun to drop below 50 degrees.

Iowa's subsoil moisture supply running short in some areas

With the lack of rain this fall, Iowa's subsoil moisture supply is starting to run a little short in some areas of the state, according to USDA's weekly weather and crop conditions survey.  As of November 1, topsoil moisture rated 7% very short, 21% short, 69% adequate and 3% surplus across the state. Subsoil moisture rated 4% very short, 15% short, 75% adequate and 6% surplus.

Of Iowa's 2010 corn acres, 94% were harvested as of November 1, which is 36 days ahead of last year and 26 days ahead of the five-year average and the furthest corn harvest has been by October 31 since 2000 when 97% of the corn acres had been harvested. Nearly all soybean acres were harvested in the northern two-thirds of the state as of November 1 2010--while a small number of acres remained to be harvested in the southern third.

Also as of November 1, grain movement in Iowa was reported at 28% none, 28% light, 30% moderate and 14% heavy. On-farm storage availability rated 18% short, 74% adequate and 8% surplus, while off-farm storage availability rated 15% short, 76% adequate and 9% surplus. Pasture and range condition rated 5% very poor, 13% poor, 36% fair, 38% good, and 8% excellent. Hay and roughage availability rated 12% short, 78% adequate, and 10% surplus. The quality of hay and roughage rated 14% poor, 49% fair and 37% good.

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