Ag Weather Forum

Precipitation to Target Eastern Corn Belt

Mike Palmerino
By  Mike Palmerino , DTN Senior Ag Meteorologist
Heavy to very heavy precipitation will threaten flooding in the Ohio Valley, Delta and southeastern U.S. through the weekend of Feb. 8-9. (DTN graphic)

A welcome drier weather pattern during the past week in the Midwest and Delta states is about to come to an end. A wet weather pattern is forming over the Ohio Valley and Delta, which will maintain saturated soils and setting up some flood potential.

Most of the precipitation will occur during the time frame ending Feb. 6. A few days of drier conditions are then indicated through early next week. More precipitation is expected to return to this region during the middle of next week. Several commentaries on rainfall prospects in this southeastern Corn Belt sector have referred to total rainfall exceeding 4 inches. That amount would be excessive, falling on soils that are already saturated.

Elsewhere, the northwest Midwest and Northern Plains are expected to miss most of the precipitation during the next week. It is still uncertain whether they will miss most of the precipitation during the middle of next week. We still see no signs of any severe or persistent cold weather in the forecast. However, we remain concerned about fieldwork and planting delays this spring due to wetness.

Farther southwest, moisture remains limited in the Southern Plains winter wheat areas, which is normal for this time of the year. There has been some improvement in soil moisture recently. For example, Dodge City, Kansas has logged more than 2 inches of precipitation since Dec. 1, which is more than 50% above average. However, dry conditions during the fall of 2019 still have much of the southwestern Plains in need of additional precipitation. Only limited precipitation is expected during the next seven days. Temperatures in the Southern Plains are much lower at this time, but not low enough to damage winter wheat. We expect to see temperatures gradually moderating during the next week.

In South America, favorable weather is expected to continue for filling soybeans in the major growing areas of central Brazil. There could be some disruptions to the harvest in central Brazil, due to near-daily chances of scattered showers and thunderstorms during the next seven days. Planting conditions for the second-crop corn (safrinha) are generally favorable, with no sign of an end to the rainy season at this time.

Southern Brazil has some crop stress indicated, due to a drier trend. Rain looks mainly light through the end of the week. Some beneficial showers and thunderstorms are possible early next week. This situation bears watching. Significant crop losses are expected in northeast Brazil due to long periods of hot and dry weather during the growing season.

Central Argentina has had a turn to hot and dry conditions. The pattern does indicate a good chance of rain developing and lingering during the last half of the week. This would be important precipitation for filling crops.

Eastern Pacific Ocean temperatures in the equatorial region have a departure from normal for the month of January of 0.4 degree Celsius above normal. This is a half-degree Celsius lower than 0.9 degree C above normal during the month of December. However, it is up from the 0.0 degree C versus normal observed during the first half of January. The eastern Pacific temperature observation indicates a neutral condition, with neither El Nino or La Nina present. We will continue to monitor this for any meaningful trends.

Michael Palmerino can be reached at



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