State Climatologist Predicting a Wetter Winter This Year


Snowblowing sidewalk in Des Moines on Nov. 11, 2019. (WHO-HD)

Data pix.

DES MOINES, Iowa – Unseasonable cold weather could lead to record breaking temperatures Monday.

According to the State Climatologist of Iowa Dr. Justin Glisan the coldest day on record was set in 1986 when Des Moines saw a high of 24 degrees.

Glisan said it is still too early to predict if it will be a frigid winter.

“Right now what we are seeing is the climate signal a wetter winter time. In terms of temperature, not sure,” Glisan said.

A wetter winter means farmers need to be preparing now by planting cover crops.

A cover crop helps lock in sub-soil moisture, snow and rainfall. It helps prevent soil runoff by the roots of the cover crop keeping the soil where it is.

This past March the state saw a lot of flooding due to record surplus sub-soil moisture that was frozen down two feet.

“When you get into wetter falls you set up conditions in the subsurface, top-soil to be wet. When we eventually freeze that soil, that soil moisture is locked in until the next season,” Glisan said.

Glisan said the past two years Iowa has seen a wetter spring and fall, with a dry summer.

“If we get into a pattern in which winter might be wetter than average, which our outlooks are showing right now we could start wetter and then have delayed planting next season,” Glisan said.

Glisan said the ground will completely freeze over within the next two to three weeks.


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