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Weather worries persist in large parts of the country

05/25/2011 @ 8:20am

We have seen a remarkable improvement in topsoil moisture conditions across much of the central Plains over this past week. A nice rain last Thursday and nice rains again the past 48 hours means that large parts of northeastern Colorado, southern/western Nebraska, northern/eastern Kansas, and central/eastern Oklahoma have had rains of two to four inches and locally even heavier over the past 7 days.

 For those areas, it has clearly been their wettest stretch of weather in months. These rains are largely coming too late to help out the winter wheat crops in Kansas and Oklahoma, but are likely benefitting the wheat crop in Colorado and Nebraska (just 24% of the Colorado crop and just 8% of the Nebraska winter wheat crop was heading as of last Sunday) and are certainly benefitting dryland summer row-crop prospects.

Far southwestern Kansas and especially the panhandles of Oklahoma and Texas have seen little or no rain in that period, and thus the situation there remains dire (particularly with regards to the big dryland West Texas cotton crop that needs to be planted). Only making matters worse will be extreme heat developing by the weekend, as highs in some spots in the dry areas could be around 110 degrees.

 Rains in the Midwest since yesterday morning have been over especially southern Nebraska, northern Kansas, northern Missouri, southern Iowa, and west-central Illinois, all areas that have picked up more than an inch and locally over two inches.

 Our near-term weather system and another for the end of the week will bring the bulk of the Midwest at least another inch of rain but likely some places in the east seeing 2-4" totals (and a lot of severe weather with today's activity as well).

 As we get to the late weekend though, the rain chances are going to be featured in only northwestern parts of the Midwest and into the northern Plains, and that will mark the start of a drier and much warmer weather pattern for the Midwest. It is going to feel like summer next week with high humidity levels and lots of 85-95 degree highs.

We will be planting corn in June this year in some areas, but at least early June weather will allow for that planting to get finally get done and will get the newly seeded crop out of the ground in a hurry. Biggest worries with regards to planting will clearly be in the northern Plains and the Canadian prairies for early June, as there is a lot of spring wheat still to plant there and no good dry "windows" are forecast for that area once we get to late this week and into next week.

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