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Weather starter: A brief rain/snow delay

Jeff Caldwell 11/04/2013 @ 9:39am Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

Though scattered showers will interrupt harvest progress around the Corn Belt this week, the hose will turn off, and dry conditions later on this week and into the weekend will put the harvest finish line into clear view, forecasters say.

Starting likely Tuesday, moisture will begin to work through the Midwest. Some of that will fall as snow in the northern reaches of the Corn Belt. While it will stall the combines in many spots around the region, the delay won't last too long, according to Monday's Ag QUICKsheet from Commodity Weather Group.

"Showers will develop in the west tomorrow and then the east Wednesday, followed by nearly a week of dry weather. This should allow much of the soybean harvest to be completed and push the corn harvest along as well," according to CWG. "There is a chance of 3- to 7-inch snow totals in southern Minnesota tomorrow that could pose a damage threat to unharvested corn. However, light winds should limit lodging."

Look for the delay to be a short one, though. Rain will be generally light, says Harvey Freese, senior ag meteorologist with Freese-Notis Weather, Inc.

"Steady rainfall will approach the western Midwest by the (Tuesday) morning hours with rainfall continuing to spread north and east through the day. This rainfall will cross Illinois overnight into Wednesday with the Ohio Valley seeing widespread rain Wednesday afternoon," he says. "Total rainfall will generally be in the 0.5 to 1.0-inch range for much of the Midwest, although locally heavier rainfall is possible, especially across northwest Iowa and also the central/western Ohio Valley."

Don Keeney, senior ag meteorologist with MDA Weather Services, says harvest progress will resume easily after the precipitation ends.

"Drier weather later this week in the Midwest and Delta will allow remaining corn and soybean harvesting to resume," Keeney says. "Additional showers in the northwestern Midwest in the 6- to 10-day period will result in only minor delays to any remaining corn and soybean harvesting."

The only areas where farmers may be a little slower to resume harvest work is where snow is likely in the next few days. Freese says cooler temperatures may help that snow stick around a little longer.

"With cool temperatures in place across this region the next few days, snow will be rather slow to melt, which could delay harvesting of corn/winter wheat planting through midweek," he says. "Farther east across the Midwest, drier conditions will return Wednesday and Thursday from west to east with only light scattered rainfall possible across the northern Midwest late Friday and Saturday as another shortwave trough crosses the northern tier of the country."

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