Wednesday, August 8, 2012


Nick Christians
August 8, 2012

Here is a post from John Ausen, CGCS, at Hyperior Field Club in Johnson, Iowa.  John has been at the course for nearly 30 years and has seen everything the weather can throw at him, including droughts, floods, and a tornado a few years ago.  He went back and got the 1988 records.  I have posted those below as jpgs.  You will have to click on them to read them, and even then they are not real clear.

Here is what John found:

I’ve heard weather experts say that the climate in 2012 is a repeat of 1988, the last major drought year.  I’ve been receiving monthly climate reports for the Des Moines area from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration since the early 80’s so I dug out the records from 1988.  Generally, the two years are much alike in regards to rainfall.  Notable differences between the two years were that the golf season started toward the end of March in 1988, which is normal, and started in very early March this year.  Also, the heat and drought was very intense in August of ’88 much like our July has been this year.  So the question is, if warm weather came almost a month early this year and the heat came a month earlier in 2012 compared to 1988, will winter arrive early?  I can say that September 1988 rainfall in Des Moines totaled 2.89” and the October 1988 rain total was just .59”.  I hope that doesn’t happen this year.  We need more moisture than that.

John Ausen CGCS

My experience in having viewed both dry years is that droughts are generally very spotty.  For instance, we were extremely dry in Ames since June, but we have had 3.2 inches in the last 10 days.  We are seeing some recovery.  In Johnson, where John is, they have been dry and received only  0.85 inches in that time period.
In 1988, the worst of the drought was in a triangular area beginning a little east of Ames and extending along the Missouri River from North to South in the state.  Even in that year, parts of Iowa received sufficient rain.  We are supposed to get some rain again today.  I sure hope that this is over.


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