Ag Weather Forum

Possible Heavy Rain For HRW Wheat

Bryce Anderson
By  Bryce Anderson , DTN Senior Ag Meteorologist
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While not a "cutoff low," a slow-moving upper-air trough in the southwestern Plains promises to be a major rain-maker in the next 10 days. (Dodge City National Weather Service graphic)

Southern Plains wheat areas are moisture-starved, and some fields are drying out. That makes rain prospects during the next week to ten days crucial for wheat potential. And, the forecast for the region has some heavy rain in it in a classic "just in time" mode.

Analysis of the upper-air patterns done on Monday, April 11, shows that a large upper level storm system is set to form during late Thursday, April 14, in the northern Nevada-southeastern Oregon-southwestern Idaho area, at the confluence of the Great Basis and the Columbia Plateau. This storm system tracks southward to the Four Corners area of Utah and Arizona during Friday the 15th, and then heads eastward. The big feature with this system, according to the National Weather Service office in Dodge City, is that it is going to move slowly--in fact, very slowly--during the weekend.

In the words of the NWS analysis, "This will allow for copious amounts of low-level moisture to surge into western Kansas from the Gulf of Mexico. Thunderstorm chances will increase as early as Friday along and ahead of a dryline and some of these could be severe. After Friday, a cold front will progress into western Kansas, leading to more widespread thunderstorms and possibly locally heavy rain."

Forecast maps depicting the rainfall potential have from four to six inches for the southwestern Plains, from North Platte, Nebraska to Lubbock, Texas. That amount of precipitation may be overdone; however, even half those totals would still be some heavy rain for the Southern Plains wheat areas.

There still is almost a full week yet before this big event develops, and the timing on rainfall could change. However, both the U.S. and European forecast models have this feature as a prominent part of the weather landscape during the next five to seven days. And, when the models display that sort of unanimity, the forecast details are impossible to ignore. This rainfall chance is unquestionably a huge feature in crop weather fortunes during the next 7 days.


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