Cool, dry weather continues throughout the Corn Belt

Across the Corn Belt, dry weather and near- to below-normal temperatures are promoting a slow push toward corn and soybean maturation. Meanwhile, winter wheat planting is underway in parts of the lower Midwest, led by Michigan (4% complete on September 14).

 

On the Plains, a few showers continue across Texas. Meanwhile on the northern and central Plains, dry weather accompanies a rapid warming trend. The warm, dry weather favors summer crop maturation and fieldwork, including winter wheat planting and the northern Plains’ delayed spring wheat harvest.

 

In the South, scattered showers linger from Texas to Florida. Across the majority of the South, however, dry weather favors a rapid pace of fieldwork, including corn, peanut, and rice harvesting.

 

In the West, a significant, tropical rainfall event is underway across portions of Arizona and New Mexico. Later Wednesday, Tropical Storm Odile will rapidly weaken after making its final landfall across the northwestern mainland of Mexico. Elsewhere in the West, hot, dry weather favors fieldwork and crop maturation, although an enhanced risk of wildfire activity exists in parts of California, Nevada, and Oregon.

 

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Drier weather settles into the Corn Belt

Across the Corn Belt, dry weather and near- to below-normal temperatures favor a gradual push toward maturity for late-developing corn and soybeans. By September 14, corn reaching maturity ranged from 15 to 25 percentage points behind the respective 5-year averages in Iowa, Minnesota, and the Dakotas.

 

On the Plains, isolated showers are mostly confined to central and coastal Texas. Meanwhile, the return of warm weather to the northern and central High Plains favors fieldwork, including spring wheat harvesting and winter wheat planting. On September 14, Nebraska led the Plains with 26% of its winter wheat planted.

 

In the South, heavy showers are lurking near the Gulf Coast. Farther inland, isolated showers are causing only minor fieldwork disruptions.

 

In the West, showers associated with Tropical Storm Odile are spreading into Arizona and New Mexico. Currently, Odile is centered inland over Baja California, moving north-northwestward. Elsewhere, a late-season heat wave is promoting crop maturation and fieldwork, including Northwestern winter wheat planting. However, there is also an elevated risk of wildfire activity in parts of California, Nevada, and Oregon.

 

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Colder air arrives on the northern Plains

Across the Corn Belt, rain is soaking the upper Mississippi Valley and the upper Great Lakes region. Sharply colder air is arriving in the far upper Midwest, where temperatures have fallen below 50°. Warmth lingers, however, from the Ohio Valley into the lower Great Lakes region.

 

On the Plains, lingering warmth is confined to portions of Texas and Oklahoma. Elsewhere, markedly cooler weather is arriving in the wake of a cold front’s passage, although scattered showers linger across portions of the northern Plains. Rain has mixed with or changed to snow in parts of Montana, where the spring wheat harvest has been once again curtailed by adverse weather conditions.

 

In the South, warm, mostly dry weather favors fieldwork and crop maturation in advance of a strong cold front.

 

In the West, an early-season snowfall is blanketing the eastern slopes of the northern Rockies. Elsewhere, cool, dry weather prevails, except for lingering, late-season heat in western Oregon and much of California.

 

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Cooler air on the move

Across the Corn Belt, locally heavy showers stretch from Michigan to Nebraska. Meanwhile, very warm weather across the southern and eastern Corn Belt is promoting corn and soybean maturation. On August 31, corn was 5% fully mature in Illinois, well behind the 5-year average of 24%.

 

On the Plains, locally heavy rain is occurring in the vicinity of a cold front. Currently, some of the heaviest rain is falling on the central High Plains, where winter wheat planting preparations and other fieldwork activities are on hold. Meanwhile on the northern Plains, dry weather favors spring wheat harvesting that has been delayed by late maturation of the crop, as well as recent downpours.

 

In the South, isolated showers accompany hot, humid conditions. Fieldwork continues, where possible, amid the shower activity. On August 31, the corn harvest was 74% complete in Georgia, along with 67% in Louisiana, 63% in South Carolina, 42% in Mississippi, 22% in North Carolina, and 21% in Alabama.

In the West, tropical showers dot the central and southern Rockies. Meanwhile, hot weather is building across the Pacific Coast States, promoting fieldwork but boosting irrigation demands.

 

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Illinois finishes out10th wettest summer on record

The 12th wettest August in Illinois finishes out the 10th wettest summer on record. While August was slightly warmer than average, the summer was cooler than average, according to the Illinois State Water Survey.

The statewide average precipitation for August was 5.18 inches, 1.59 inches above average. The wettest area of the state was Cook County. The largest monthly total was from a site in Cicero with 10.20 inches of precipitation.  There were a few areas in the northwest and east-central Illinois with only 2 to 3 inches of rainfall.

The statewide temperature for August was 73.9 degrees F, 0.3 degrees above the 1981-2010 average. The first half of August was exceptionally cool, like July, with temperatures about 3 degrees below average. The second half of August was much warmer, with temperatures about 3 degrees above average. The result was a near-average August.

The statewide average precipitation for summer was 14.96 inches, 3.09 inches above average and the 10th wettest summer on record. The wettest summer was 1993 with 18.51 inches.

For the three summer months of June, July, and August, the statewide average temperature was 72.4 degrees, 1.2 degrees below average and the 30th coolest summer season on record. The milder August knocked this summer out of the running for one of the coolest on record.

The outstanding colder-than-average months for 2014 were January, February, March, and July. The rest of the months have been near average.

The Illinois State Water Survey

Heat & storms expanding across the Heartland

Across the Corn Belt, very warm weather is building into southern corn and soybean production areas, where Wednesday’s high temperatures will exceed 90°. Elsewhere, beneficial showers dot the eastern Corn Belt, while favorably warm weather is aiding late-developing summer crops in the upper Midwest.

On the Plains, hot, dry weather is increasing stress on immature summer crops as far north as southern Nebraska. Temperatures could reach 100° later Wednesday in western Kansas and environs. In contrast, scattered showers on the northern Plains are slowing fieldwork, including spring wheat harvesting.

In the South, isolated showers are causing only minor fieldwork delays. On August 17, Texas led the South with 32% of its corn harvested, followed by Georgia (31%), South Carolina (19%), and Louisiana (12%).

In the West, widely scattered, monsoon-related showers stretch primarily from Arizona to the northern Rockies. Mostly dry weather prevails in the Pacific Coast States, although cooler weather is aiding wildfire containment efforts.

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Late-summer heat on the Great Plains

Across the Corn Belt, scattered showers are most numerous in northern production areas, from North Dakota to Wisconsin. The rain is helping to ease the effects of short-term dryness that has developed in recent weeks. Nevertheless, overall conditions remain mostly favorable for Midwestern pastures and summer crops, in part due to this summer’s absence of stressful heat.

On the Plains, hot weather is maintaining stress on immature summer crops. Monday’s high temperatures will exceed 100° as far north as Kansas. Widely scattered showers and thunderstorms are helping to offset the effects of the heat in a few areas, mainly across the central and southern Plains.

In the South, a broken line of showers and thunderstorms stretches from central Texas to the southern Mid- Atlantic States. The rain is slowing fieldwork but benefiting pastures and immature summer crops. Across the Deep South, hot, dry weather is promoting fieldwork, including the early stages of the corn harvest.

In the West, mostly dry weather prevails during a lull in the monsoon. However, a few showers linger across the Desert Southwest. Meanwhile, the return of hot weather across much of the West is boosting irrigation demands but favors fieldwork and summer crop maturation.

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Cool, dry weather lingers in the Midwest

Across the Corn Belt, dry weather accompanies near- to below-normal temperatures. Conditions remain favorable for Midwestern pastures and summer crops, except in areas that have trended dry since early July and did not receive appreciable rainfall during a series of cold frontal passages from August 5-12.

On the Plains, building heat accompanies dry weather. Wednesday’s high temperatures could approach 100° as far north as Montana. The hot, dry weather favors fieldwork, including winter and spring wheat harvesting on the northern Plains, but is increasing stress on rain-fed summer crops such as cotton.

In the South, cooler, drier air is arriving in the wake of a cold front’s passage. Corn harvesting is underway in the Deep South and by August 10 corn was 17% harvested in Texas; 6% harvested in Louisiana; and 2% harvested in Mississippi and Alabama. Warm, humid, showery conditions linger across much of Florida.

In the West, scattered showers are heaviest in western Washington and parts of Arizona. However, there is still an elevated risk of wildfire ignition and expansion across portions of the interior Northwest due to lightning strikes and gusty winds. Heat lingers in the northern Rockies, but cooler air is spreading inland across the Pacific Coast States.

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Patchy Midwestern Dryness of Minimal Concern

Across the Corn Belt, scattered showers accompany a continuation of near- to below-normal temperatures. Patchy Midwestern dryness developed during July, but overall crop stress has been minimal due to a lack of heat and the ability of corn and soybeans to tap into soil moisture reserves that accumulated during a very wet June.

On the Plains, mostly dry weather prevails. However, cool conditions across the southern half of the region contrast with some of the warmest weather of the summer on the northern High Plains. The northern Plains’ warmth is promoting winter wheat harvesting and the growth of late-developing summer crops.

In the South, widespread showers stretch from the central Gulf Coast to the southern Atlantic States. Southeastern showers are slowing fieldwork but aiding pastures and summer crops, which have experienced varying degrees of stress in June and July due to pockets of dryness and a few episodes of hot weather.

In the West, heavy showers continue to provide drought relief but cause local flash flooding in the southern Rockies and environs. Elsewhere, isolated showers dot the Pacific Northwest, while unfavorably hot, dry weather persists from California into the central Great Basin and northern Rockies.

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Pockets of dryness in the Corn Belt

Across the Corn Belt, dry weather and near- to below-normal temperatures remain mostly favorable for corn and soybeans. However, pockets of short-term dryness are becoming a concern in some areas, mainly across the western and southern Corn Belt. On July 27, topsoil moisture was rated 41% very short to short in Nebraska and 39% very short to short in Missouri.

On the Plains, rain has mostly subsided in Oklahoma and northern Texas, following a recent deluge. Parts of central and southeastern Oklahoma, as well as northeastern Texas, received 2 to 6 inches of rain in the last 24-hours, causing some flash flooding. Meanwhile, heat is overspreading the northern High Plains, including Montana, promoting winter wheat harvesting and the maturation of spring-sown small grains.

In the South, scattered showers and thunderstorms are heaviest in the Arklatex region. Developing drought remains a concern in several areas of the Southeast. On July 27, for example, topsoil moisture was rated 51% very short to short in Kentucky, along with 44% in South Carolina, 33% in Virginia, and 32% in Georgia.

In the West, an active monsoon circulation continues to produce locally heavy showers in the southern Rockies and neighboring areas. In addition, isolated showers dot the Great Basin and Intermountain West. However, hot, dry weather continues to plague northern California and much of the Northwest, maintaining heavy irrigation demands and increasing stress on rangeland, pastures, and rain-fed summer crops.

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