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Rains pound central Corn Belt
As forecast, very heavy rains and flooding occurred across Iowa and north-central Illinois over the weekend, but even more rain fell than forecast in this report on Friday. There was a widespread swath of 3 to 6 inches of rain from northwest Iowa to southeast Iowa from Friday night through early Memorial Day morning, and more rain has fallen since.
Unofficially, through this morning, Sheldon, Iowa, had received 7.36 inches; Storm Lake, Iowa: 4.48 inches; Ames, Iowa: 3.19 inches; Cedar Rapids, Iowa: 2.89 inches; and Ottumwa, Iowa: 4.46 inches. There were isolated heavier rainfall totals. For the year so far, Algona, Iowa, has received 16.94 inches of rain, Clinton, Iowa: 17.62 inches; Newton, Iowa: 18.99 inches; and Oskaloosa, Iowa: 22.63 inches. The Iowa River stage at Marshalltown is forecast to reach a record crest of 22 feet; the previous record is 21.8 feet set in 2008.
This is part of a climatic trend where wet springs occur more frequently in Iowa and the Midwest. The 30-year average Iowa spring rainfall of 13.1 inches is the highest of the past 140 years. A one-in-10 wet spring during the period from 1873-1980, now occurs one in three years. Ten of the top 20 wettest April-June rainfall periods with more than 15 inches have occurred from 1981-2013.
Current neutral ENSO conditions and a trend of very wet springs have helped to replenish soil moisture across the Midwest. Farmers have been adapting to this wetter climate with increased tillage and planting higher populations of seed to take advantage of the increased soil-moisture content.
Scattered showers and thunderstorms are forecast the next few days, with more widespread rain again late this week or early weekend followed by a drier reprieve from Saturday or Sunday into the middle of next week, and parts of the central Corn Belt may see a more extended drier period next week.
For the 11- to 15-day, it looks like less-than-normal rainfall will be extending over the western into the central Corn Belt states and the northern Plains states with normal to above-normal rainfall farther east.
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