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Rain in the Plains
The big story in the weather forecast today is much better rainfall chances for the hard-red winter wheat belt of the southern Plains. Even with last Friday's forecast, that area was going to see rain but the chances now look even better and so too do the rainfall amounts. Another change is that the western areas of the growing region might see better rainfall totals than the east (which is also opposite of what it looked like back on Friday).
Look for those rains to mainly get started this Friday (though a few showers may already been seen on Wednesday), and the slow movement of the storm system means that rain chances will last through the weekend. There might be additional rains towards the end of the ten-day forecast period as well.
I think that the potential is there for a lot of the hard-red winter wheat belt, but especially the western parts of Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas (including all of the panhandles), to see one to two inches of rain from late this week through the end of the ten-day forecast period. Localized amounts may be even more than that.
We are obviously not going to break such a historic drought with one rain event, but this is clearly what this area badly needed to see. Look for a lot of winter wheat planting to take place this week in the southern Plains in anticipation of those rains, and if the rains can verify (and there is very good model agreement that they will) we will see that newly planted crop germinate and emerge quite well.
In the Midwest, look for this to be a very big week for harvesting, especially for soybeans, given that all of the region will have dry weather for the next five days and the eastern Midwest will stay completely dry for the 6-10 day time frame as well. Look for the national corn harvest progress figure this afternoon to be at 20% complete (versus 36% last year and a five-year average of 22%). Look for the national soybean harvest progress figure to be 16% complete, which compares with 34% last year and a five-year average of 22%.
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