Wet Summer Shows Signs of El Niño

Statewide, last week’s rainfall was enough to put June 2014 into the top 15 wettest months in 141 years of record keeping.

That’s a ballpark guess from State Climatologist Harry Hillaker, who says flooding was not as bad as it might have been, due to dry conditions in May. Most of the rainfall occurred about every other day, and was concentrated in the northern half of the state.

It’s a little too early to say that El Niño is taking place in Iowa, but the signs seem to point that way. El Niño usually brings cooler, wetter conditions, which can be a plus for the growing season, but not so much for the fall.

Historically, Hillaker says the effects of El Niño tend to continue well into the later parts of years when it’s occurred.

“As we get further along into the fall months. Start to get pretty strong correlations with El Niño and our weather. About two-thirds of the time we’re about cooler than usual in the fall and two-thirds of the time wetter than usual in the fall in years where El Niño is beginning.”

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