Around 2:46 a.m. this morning, rain came to Big Grove. Lightning and thunder woke me, the drops falling against the south window. After a while, water began trickling in the downspout. Lightning, rain and thunder continued for more than an hour, although when I went outside, the driveway hardly seemed wet. Rain was welcome, but not enough fell.
We were talking about the corn crop at the Cedar County fair yesterday and the consensus was the crops were stressed because of the hot, dry weather. Someone said we can tell by examining the leaves, and when it is overly dry, they curl to conserve moisture. This takes energy away from pollination. Click on the photo to enlarge it and you can see what this looks like. Despite the vast expanses of corn on the road to Tipton, we needs rain soon to avert a crop failure. Yields are already expected to be lower.
Today, the USDA is set to formally declare Johnson County a disaster because of the drought. It is one of 1,016 counties in 26 states in what some news outlets are calling the biggest disaster in history. At noon yesterday, a burn ban was established in Johnson County. There is a plague on local pine trees and all of the dead and dry ones are like tinder—it would further complicate our lives if they caught on fire.
On Tuesday, the governor is holding a public meeting to discuss the drought in Mount Pleasant. From the Governor's press release:
"...(the governor and lieutenant governor) will hold a two-hour public meeting on the severe dry and D1 Drought conditions that have plagued Iowa this summer. The event will be held Tuesday morning at the Mt. Pleasant High School gymnasium, and members of the public are encouraged and welcome to attend.
The public meeting will feature officials from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, and the USDA. Outside expert testimony will feature agricultural groups and environmental experts.
The discussion will include the latest information and tracking metrics, how coordination is being handled between the state and federal levels, and potential action steps that may be taken in order to ensure Iowa’s needs are met. The public is invited to share their thoughts and concerns."
Unlike the statements of various pundits, grand poobahs and talking heads on television, radio and the Internet, this long, dry season is actually scary. Now that we are into it, humans have little control over the weather, and all we can do is hope for more rain.