Ag Weather Forum

Wide Variety in Midwest Rain

Bryce Anderson
By  Bryce Anderson , DTN Senior Ag Meteorologist
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Seven-day rainfall in northern Iowa, southern Minnesota and northern through central Illinois was not only less than normal, it was almost zero in some locations. (Midwest Climate Center graphic)

We see a wide variance in rainfall totals for the first full week of August relative to normal across the Midwest. Some areas certainly got wet; southwestern Iowa, southeastern Nebraska, northwestern Missouri, southern Illinois, northeastern South Dakota all logged more than three times their normal amounts. There were several other areas sporting near to above-normal totals as well.

However, a large arc through the north-central and central Midwest missed out on that rain. Almost the entire northern one-third of Iowa, southern Minnesota, southern Wisconsin, and the northeastern half of Illinois had 50 percent of normal precipitation or below. Near-zero was even observed in the upper Mississippi Valley of northeastern Iowa-southwestern Wisconsin. In Ohio, central and northeastern areas had similar deficits. The Red River Valley in North Dakota exhibited those drier trends as well. Also part of the area which missed the rain is extreme northeastern Nebraska and southeastern South Dakota.

There are several points of concern with the missed precipitation. The first is that some areas of the western Corn Belt which had been thought of as being in tip-top shape for the crop year suddenly have things looking less than ideal. The second is that these dry sectors also take in parts of the eastern Corn Belt where the record-breaking spring and early-summer rains fell and caused extensive issues with getting crops planted. Root development was shallow because of the wet ground; now, the quick switch to drier conditions is starving those haphazard root systems.

Over the next week to 10 days, there is not much of a chance for the drier areas to recover, either. Our main expectation is for high pressure in the upper atmosphere to dominate much of the central US. This ridging will limit rainfall in the Midwest; possibly offering some rain for the Dakotas, but very little elsewhere, along with generally near to above normal temperatures. The call is for near to above normal temperatures in the Midwest with near to below-normal rainfall.


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