Top Climate Change Risks: Heat, Precipitation, Flood

Use this page to learn how climate change is affecting people in Iowa.

Then, use our tool to check your address for local and property-specific heat, precipitation, drought, fire, and flood risk.

Climate Change Risk Ratings for Iowa

People in Iowa will experience especially increased risks from heat, precipitation, and flood due to climate change over the next 30 years. These risks, through 2050 and beyond, may change depending on how much we reduce emissions in the near future.

ClimateCheck Risk Ratings measure the risk posed by a hazard on a 1-100 scale, using historical conditions and projected scenarios through 2050. Climate change has complex, interacting local and large-scale effects that impact everyone on Earth, and a low risk rating does not mean no exposure to impacts from that hazard. See how we measure risk.

Median Climate Change Risk Ratings for Iowa

Climate Risks for Cities in Iowa

Of these top cities in Iowa, the city with the highest overall risk is Des Moines. The city with the lowest overall risk is Dubuque.

  • For heat, Mason City has the lowest risk and Davenport has the highest risk.
  • For precipitation, Sioux City has the lowest risk and Dubuque has the highest risk.
  • For drought, Dubuque has the lowest risk and Sioux City has the highest risk.
  • For fire, Mason City has the lowest risk and Sioux City has the highest risk.
  • For flood, Ames has the lowest risk and Dubuque has the highest risk.
Climate Change Risk Ratings for Cities in Iowa

Comparing Iowa and Other States

Among the lower 48 states, Iowa's highest ranking is #28 for heat risk.

Louisiana and Mississippi rank highest for heat risk California and Oregon rank lowest for heat risk

Iowa ranks #35 for fire risk.
Highest fire risk: Oklahoma and Wyoming
Lowest fire risk: Maine and Vermont
See our fire ranking methodology.

Iowa ranks #43 for drought risk.
Highest drought risk: Nevada and California
Lowest drought risk: Mississippi and Vermont

Iowa ranks #31 for storm risk.
Highest storm risk: Rhode Island and New York
Lowest storm risk: Nevada and Arizona

Iowa ranks #36 for flood risk.
Highest flood risk: Arizona and West Virginia
Lowest flood risk: Utah and Nevada

Iowa Rankings for Climate Change Risk

Heat Risk in Iowa with Climate Change

An extremely hot day in Iowa is about 92ºF. This is based on historical maximum temperatures on the top 2% of days in an average year.

Hot Day Temperatures for Cities in Iowa

The frequency of very hot days is increasing. On average, someone in Iowa will experience about 40 extremely hot days in 2050.

Number of Hot Days with Climate Change for Iowa

Precipitation Risk in Iowa with Climate Change

To measure precipitation risk, we look at the amount of precipitation that falls in 48-hour periods exceeding a location-specific threshold, and how many times this happens per year. A precipitation threshold is based on the top 1% of rainiest days per year for a location.

Historically, Dubuque experienced an average of 1.3 inches of rain about 10 times per year. In 2050, it is projected to experience an average of 1.2 inches of rain about 12 times per year.

Historically, Sioux City experienced an average of 1.1 inches of rain about 10 times per year. In 2050, it is projected to experience an average of 1.1 inches of rain about 11 times per year.

Extreme Precipitation Events and Amounts for Iowa

Drought Risk in Iowa with Climate Change

Drought risk is based on water stress, which is a projection of how much of the water supply will be taken up by human demand.

In the figure, the blue bars represent the available water every 10 years from 2020-2060, and the orange bars represent demand. The drought risk rating is based on the ratio of supply to demand and the projected change in this ratio. Lower supply and higher demand correspond to a higher score.

Drought Risk and Water Supply and Demand with Climate Change for Iowa

How can we prevent climate change and protect our homes and communities?

Mitigating climate change—by eliminating our emissions into the atmosphere and reducing our strain on the environment—and adapting to our changing planet are both vital to our well-being.

Understand Risks

Check your address and get a free report describing risks to your property and in your area.

Your level of risk depends on your city's capacity to adapt. Look up information on your city's characteristics and how they relate to preparedness for climate change: ND-GAIN Urban Adaptation Assessment.

Protect Homes and Communities

Check our free report for tips on protecting your home from hazards.

Green infrastructure is a category of nature-based solutions to increasing precipitation. Find resources for individuals and municipalities through the EPA's Soak Up the Rain initiative.

Planting trees and vegetation helps reduce extreme heat in urban environments. Cool Pavements can also help urban heat islands. Search the Heat Island Community Actions Database to see what some municipalities have been doing to reduce extreme heat risk.

Read more about building resilience for communities: U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit.

Use the Common Cause tool to find your representatives—federal to local—how to contact them, and information about political contributions and bills they have introduced.

Find Balance

Change is necessary–and possible–across the globe and in every part of our society. Learn more with Project Drawdown's introduction to climate solutions.

Estimate your home's carbon footprint with the CoolClimate Calculator. Or, estimate the carbon footprint of your business.