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Weather questions remain for corn, spring wheat planting

05/20/2011 @ 8:55am

Some of the best rains in months have fallen in parts of the hard-red winter wheat belt over the past 24 hours. All of Nebraska, the central third of Kansas, western Oklahoma (excluding the panhandle) and areas of Texas to the east of the panhandle have seen that rain, and some it has been heavy.

 Radar estimates that south-central Nebraska, north-central Kansas, and southwestern Oklahoma have seen rains of more than three inches. For the major reporting stations, topping the list of rainfall totals would be exactly five inches at Lawton, with just under five inches at Hobart, 4.70 inches at Oklahoma City, 2.42" at Clinton, and Altus reporting 1.54" (all of those stations in Oklahoma). In Kansas, the best totals I can find are 1.80 for both Great Bend and Russell (some flash flooding was seen in the Russell area). In Nebraska, there was 1.34" at Imperial and 2.77" at Lincoln.

 We will probably fire more storms in the Plains this afternoon, and it looks like more rain chances for Monday/Tuesday for Kansas and nearby areas so we are really looking at significant moisture improvement for northeastern Colorado, Nebraska, northern/eastern Kansas, eastern Oklahoma, and central through northern Texas.

 This rain may be coming too late to help out a lot of the wheat crop (though we do still have a lot of heading wheat in Nebraska) but is certainly of benefit to summer row-crop prospects. Getting short-changed in all of this is far southwestern Kansas southward through the panhandles, which is bad news especially for dryland cotton planting prospects in West Texas.

Rain had spread about as far east as Interstate 35 in the western Corn Belt early today, and by tomorrow rains will be in western Illinois and will proceed eastward from there. This rains starts a wet 7-day stretch of weather for the region, and during that period there could be locally heavy rains that in some spots exceed four inches for southeastern Nebraska, eastern Kansas, eastern Oklahoma, northwestern Arkansas, Missouri, central/southern Iowa, and most of Illinois and Indiana. Warmth will accompany the early part of that rain, but it will turn a lot cooler again for the middle and latter parts of next week. Lots of near-term rain also will fall in the western part of the northern Plains.

Substantial amounts of corn still needs to be planted in the eastern third of the Corn Belt, and substantial amounts of spring wheat need to be planted in the western third of the spring wheat belt; when any of that gets planted obviously remains a big question mark.

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

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