After the Drought: Heavy Rain Leads to Midwest Flooding

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Additional moisture could help this year’s crop of winter wheat. Photo: C.K.Hartman / CC by 2.0

Breaking the Drought: Will the Rain Save This Year’s Crops?

Plants need moisture, and those crops planted so far have had less moisture than in preceding years. The additional moisture helps those crops that are already in the ground, but cooler and rainier conditions could slow planting.

As of April 16th, the US Drought Monitoring site had reduced the drought levels by one category in much of Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Missouri, while northeastern Iowa, southeastern Minnesota, and southwestern Wisconsin dropped two drought categories.

Unpredictable Weather: Midwest Storms

As weather becomes less predictable, it’s even more important to maintain soil moisture levels and slow rainfall through land management and design practices like swales and wetlands. Although this week’s Midwest flooding is intense and challenging,  the additional moisture from the floods was badly needed and will help to replenish soils and rivers that sorely need the rain.

Resources

CNN. Hundreds of Flights Cancelled as Record-Setting Rain Hits Chicago. Accessed April 18th, 2013.

NBC News. Flash Floods As Heavy Rains Soak Midwest. Accessed April 18th, 2013.

Reuters. Rains to Ease Drought Stress But Also Slow Corn Seedlings. Accessed April 18th, 2013.

US Drought Monitor. April 16th, 2013. Accessed April 18th, 2013.

US EPA. Green Infrastructure Midwest Case Studies. Accessed April 18th, 2013.

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