Big Rains Fall in the Plains; Corn Belt Rain Frequent This Week
Over the weekend, rainfall was most widespread across the southern Plains where central Texas saw widespread 1- to 3-inch rainfall totals.
Beneficial rainfall also fell farther north and west into the Texas panhandle where rain totals ranged from 0.25 to 1.0 inch with 75% coverage. Portions of central/western Oklahoma also saw 0.25 to 1.0 inch with lesser amounts across the Oklahoma panhandle with light and spotty precip across western Kansas and southern Nebraska. Across the Midwest, heaviest rains fell across the west with spotty coverage of 0.25 to 1.0 inch from extreme northwest Indiana north and west into eastern Nebraska.
The most widespread rains fell across western Iowa into southeast Nebraska where coverage of 0.5 to 1.0 inch was near 80%. Spotty 0.25- to 1.0-inch amounts also fell across the Dakotas into eastern Montana. Looking at the pattern ahead, rain chances across the southern Plains will be trending near to below normal with rain chances across the Midwest shifting from north to south, with five-day totals expected to reach .1- to .5-inch across central areas and 0.5 to 1.0 inch across the south.
Rain chances will increase across central and northern portions of the Midwest this weekend as a slow moving cold front approaches from the north, with above-normal rainfall across much of the corn and bean growing regions forecast for the six- to 10-day. This will lead to increasing fieldwork and planting delays, although near- to above-normal temperatures with some dry chances in the near-term will allow for most of the corn crop and a significant portion of the bean crop to be planted.
Changing the focus away from planting, the latest 2014 Atlantic Hurricane Outlook was recently released by NOAA. Overall, the prediction is for near- to below-normal tropical activity, with eight to 13 named storms, three to six hurricanes, and one or two major hurricanes. Seasonal averages are 12 named storms, six hurricanes, and three major hurricanes. The main driver of this outlook is the emerging El Niño, which increases wind shear and stability across the Atlantic, making the overall environment more hostile to developing storms.
The official CPC probabilistic forecast is for a 50% chance for a below-normal season, 40% chance near-normal, and only a 10% chance for an above-normal season. Although this is generally good news for coastal communities, NOAA administrator Kathryn Sullivan reminds us, "It's important to remember it takes only one land-falling storm to cause a disaster."
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