Ag Weather Forum

Remnants of Hurricane Beryl Forecast to Affect Eastern Corn Belt

Teresa Wells
By  Teresa Wells , DTN Meteorologist
A swath of 2-4 inches of rain is possible from Arkansas to southern Michigan during the next few days as remnants of Hurricane Beryl shift northeast. (DTN graphic)

Early Monday morning, Hurricane Beryl made landfall along the Texas coastline near Matagorda, Texas, as a Category 1 hurricane. A Category 1 hurricane has sustained winds between 74 to 95 miles per hour. According to the National Hurricane Center, maximum sustained winds were near 80 mph as the storm made landfall around 4 a.m. CDT Monday and a wind gust up to 87 mph was reported near Freeport, Texas.

Now that Beryl has made landfall and continues to interact with land, it will continue to weaken. While weakening to tropical storm status on Monday, Beryl will still provide a threat for heavy rain and thunderstorms to the Mississippi Valley and even the Eastern Corn Belt through the first half of this week.

Every once in a while, remnants of a hurricane will make it into portions of the Corn Belt, but for this to happen, the remnants of the hurricane need some assistance from higher up in the atmosphere. There is currently an upper-level trough extending through the Upper Midwest into the Southern Plains. Winds on the east side of this trough are from the southwest and these winds will act as a steering mechanism for the remnants of Beryl to shift northeast Tuesday and Wednesday.

The National Hurricane Center is forecasting that Beryl will weaken to a tropical depression across southern Arkansas early Tuesday morning, meaning that it will have maximum sustained winds of 38 mph or less. Some of the strongest winds surrounding the center of Beryl are expected to remain fairly compact, mainly affecting northeast Texas, southern Arkansas, and northern Louisiana on Tuesday morning. However, rainfall surrounding the tropical depression will likely extend as far north as southern Illinois.

Throughout Tuesday, rainfall associated with the remnants of Beryl will expand north into Indiana, central Illinois, western Ohio, and southern Michigan. By early Wednesday morning, rainfall will start to exit southern Illinois while showers still linger across Lower Michigan, northern Indiana, and Ohio. Beryl will finally make its exit out of Lower Michigan and Ohio Wednesday evening.

As of early Monday afternoon, parts of southeast Texas reported 3-5 inches of rain during the past 24 hours. DTN is forecasting a swath of rain between 2-4 inches for parts of northern Arkansas as Beryl shifts northeast on Tuesday. Southeast Missouri, southern Illinois, Indiana, southern Michigan, and northwest Ohio could see a band of rainfall around 1-3 inches by Wednesday. The National Weather Service has flood watches in place from eastern Texas into southern Illinois as of Monday afternoon to account for the upcoming heavy rainfall and risks of flash flooding.

The heavy rainfall potential across the Central Mississippi Valley is concerning as water levels are already high along the Mississippi River between Illinois and Missouri. Therefore, any additional rainfall early this week will likely exacerbate the flooding near the Mississippi River. However, places across eastern Illinois, central Indiana, and Ohio could use this week's heavier rainfall. Pockets of moderate drought extend across these areas and rainfall is becoming crucial as corn begins silking and beans continue to flower.

Producers across the Eastern Corn Belt will need to monitor the forecast during the next few days as Beryl make its way northeast. Areas of heavy rain could lead to localized flooding and some severe storms may affect southeast Missouri, southern Illinois, Kentucky, and southern Indiana on Tuesday. Localized wind gusts up to 55-65 mph are possible with Tuesday's thunderstorms along with the low threat for a few isolated tornadoes.

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Teresa Wells