Last week's rains made no difference to the drought conditions in Iowa, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.The latest map of Iowa's drought was released Thursday morning and covers the last week of July.
The areas under extreme drought conditions in eastern and southeastern Iowa remain largely unchanged. But the intensifying drought in the upper plains has added a new area, with parts of four counties in northwestern Iowa now in the extreme drought category.
All told, 30 percent of Iowa is now considered to be enduring an extreme drought. Every other part of the state falls in the severe drought category. A year ago less than 2 percent of Iowa was even considered abnormally dry, the first stage on the drought monitor's scale.
The new map comes just after Wednesday's announcement that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has declared more than half the counties in the United States disaster areas, mostly due to drought. The designations open up additional land for haying and livestock grazing.
Click here to view an animation of the drought's development over the past 12 weeks.