Ag Weather Forum

Midwest Water Year Precip Rundown

Bryce Anderson
By  Bryce Anderson , DTN Senior Ag Meteorologist
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I've discussed during the talks I've given at farm meetings this winter season about the "water year" precipitation. The term "water year" is a U.S. Geological Survey term, and is defined as follows:

The term U.S. Geological Survey "water year" in reports that deal with surface-water supply is defined as the 12-month period October 1, for any given year through September 30, of the following year. The water year is designated by the calendar year in which it ends and which includes 9 of the 12 months. Thus, the year ending September 30, 1999 is called the "1999" water year.

With that in mind, here is a look at how the 2013 water year precipitation has fared across the Midwest. Colleague Joel Burgio compiled this information. And, looking from west to east in the region, we see a definite split in the precipitation totals from October 1 2012 through Monday, March 19 2013.


State Precip Normal Pct of Normal

Minn 6.06 6.69 90

Iowa 9.45 8.63 109

Nebr 5.10 5.97 85

Missouri 13.14 11.41 115

SoDakota 4.31 4.76 92

WM Avg 7.80 7.61 99


State Precip Normal Pct of Normal

Ill 15.04 12.00 126

Mich 14.33 12.19 117

Ind 15.55 14.75 105

Ohio 12.74 13.36 98

Ken 19.63 18.87 104

EM Avg 15.23 13.73 113


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3/19/2013 | 4:08 PM CDT
SE Nebraska is very dry. I highly doubt we have had 85% of normal precip. According to our county records we have had less than 3 inches since last November 1st and most of that was in .15 to .30 shots at A time . The top 18 inches of soil has moisture. There is nothing under that. Crop production does not look good for the coming year.
3/19/2013 | 3:08 PM CDT
The most notable statistic is that the western corn belt has had near normal (99%) precip in the last 5-1/2 months. If this trend continues, the worry of the lingering of the 2012 drought will soon fade. In fact in S.C. Minnesota, precip in both February and March have been above normal. I like the trend. It' s possible that the first (too) crop season worry might be too cool and too wet ( in places). We don't have a single day forecat of even normal temps for the next 15 days. February was 2.5 degrees below normal and March could even deviate more. Apparently Global warming is on vacation. Great data Bryce. Thanks.