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Better weather?

DANIEL LOOKER 02/22/2013 @ 3:53pm Business Editor

The odds are improving for a wetter spring and summer in the eastern Corn Belt, a seasonal forecaster with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Prediction Center said on Friday at the USDA Agricultural Outlook Forum.

"For the MIdwest it looks like there's a tilt in the odds for wetter than normal conditions," Anthony Artusa said after going over both temperature and precipitation outlooks for March, this spring and this summer.

Artusa said the dividing line, which isn't exact, seems to include eastern Iowa and Minnesota on the wetter side, which stretches into the eastern Corn Belt. The outlook remains warmer and drier than normal for Kansas and Colorado and through the southern Plains.

Long term forecasting remains an inexact science. A year ago, the weather models did not suggest low precipitation in the Corn Belt for 2012. They did a better job with temperature.

"There were some hints," Artusa said. "The models did go with above-normal temperatures." But those models, too, missed how far north the heat would reach.

Artusa showed a slide of the Climate Prediction Center's latest Drought Outlook map, released Thursday of this week, to summarize the current estimates of where we're headed in 2013.

His slides of other heat and precipitation outlooks will be posted at 6 p.m. EST on the Outlook Forum's web page.

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