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'Ominous' weather in store for large parts of the country

04/01/2011 @ 9:01am

While the southern Plains is forecast to stay dry, a big storm will still be impacting the northern Plains, eastern Corn Belt and Delta for late this weekend and early next week. Winter storm watches are already posted for parts of the northern Plains, and the threat of severe weather in the eastern Corn Belt and Delta on Monday looks quite ominous.

I wish it was an "April Fool's Day" joke being played on wheat farmers, but here on the first day of April there is still nothing in the way of hope in the forecast in regards to a wetter pattern developing for hard-red winter wheat areas of the Plains. Just very meager precipitation is expected there over the next five days, with southwestern Kansas southward probably not even getting that. Confidence is high that continued below normal precipitation will be seen in that area for the 6-10 day time frame as well.

Making matters worse is that temperatures will be quite warm...then quite cool...then quite warm again. After being just in the 40s for highs as recently as Tuesday, we will see 80s for highs in extreme southern parts of the region today, then 80s for southwestern Kansas south and southeast tomorrow and for Sunday I would fully expect to see highs above 90 and in some cases to 95 degrees for south-central Kansas, western Oklahoma, and most of the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles.

 Monday then turns much cooler with highs in a lot of the region not getting above 60, and sub-freezing lows will be seen on Tuesday morning (though I would not look for readings to get below the 24- degree damage threshold for areas where the wheat is jointing). Rapid warming will follow that, to the point where we might see some 90s again in the far south already by Wednesday and more of that is possible for the rest of next week.

Some meager rains and snows this week in parts of Kansas, Colorado, and Nebraska may keep winter wheat crop conditions in Monday's report from falling in those areas, but I would look for more deterioration with regards to wheat ratings in Oklahoma and Texas. (Remember that we may get our first national winter wheat crop rating of the year on Monday as well).

Freese-Notis Weather, Inc. Des Moines, Iowa Copyright 2011 - All Rights Reserved

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