Except for two snowstorms in February, precipitation this winter has been relatively quiet.
That’s according to State Climatologist Harry Hillaker, who says it’s been a stark contrast to last winter, which was punctuated by frequent snowfall.
Hillaker says one major difference is that the current winter began with a significant amount of soil moisture - a very different story from the dry beginnings of last winter. The soil moisture means freezing will be less of an issue this year than last, because wet soil is harder to freeze.
Hillaker adds it may cause some issues once planting time rolls around, "Central, west central, south central and southwest corner of the state was extremely wet from August to September, first of October. And therefore, soils coming into the winter, would be generally that same situation now, it's about as wet as it ever [has been] at this time in the year. And it may not seem that way because everything's frozen. But it wouldn't take a whole lot of rain to cause some planting delays in that part of the state. Roughly the southwest third or so but actually includes a pretty big chunk of central Iowa as well."
Hillaker adds that February 2015 was the 9th coldest on record, though still not as cold as February 2014.