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#Plant17 Forecast: Dry Spell Sandwiched Between More Rain

Planting will likely continue in the same stop-and-start fashion as it has all spring with the forecast calling for rain, a brief dry period, and then back to rain.

“The system moving through the next few days will bring rain to the entire Midwest,” says Dan Hicks, meteorologist at Freese-Notis Weather. “The northwestern portion will have rain today and into tonight. Farther south and east will be drier today and then have chances of rain through tonight into early Friday.”

The system will produce significant rainfall with .5 to 1 inch in most areas. “The greatest total rainfall will be in eastern Kansas, southern Iowa, Missouri, and across the Ohio Valley, where there is a chance for an inch or more of rain,” adds Hicks.

Part of this storm will hit the same areas that are still saturated and flooded from heavy rains earlier this month. In the past 14 days, parts of Arkansas, Missouri, and Illinois received 5 to 10 inches of rain with the total closer to 15 inches in southeastern Missouri, according to the National Weather Service. This area typically receives 2 inches of rain during this time frame, so all three states have had flooding and wet field conditions. See photos of the floods in Missouri.

In Missouri, 49% of the topsoil moisture is rated as surplus and there were only 1.4 days suitable for fieldwork last week, according to the USDA’s weekly Crop Progress Report. Corn planting is 77% complete across the state, but there are certain areas that are trailing behind, including south-central Missouri where only 29% of corn is planted.

While the rains on the way shouldn’t exacerbate the flooding, according to Hicks, they will keep fields from drying out. “It will be like salt in the wound,” says Hicks. “The storm will stop fieldwork everywhere for a few days.”

The good news is that Friday will be dry in most areas of the Midwest, excluding the Ohio Valley, and the dry spell will last through the weekend into next week.

After that brief break for planting, the weather pattern will become more active in the western Midwest and the Plains, moving eastward later next week and bringing showers and thunderstorms. This time frame will see normal to above-normal precipitation for the northwestern Midwest and below normal in the southeast, says Hicks. Moving into the 11- to 15-day forecast, which is May 20 to 24, the forecast calls for normal to above-normal precipitation for the entire Midwest. 

“More than likely many places will have difficulty keeping up with the five-year planting average for corn and soybeans,” says Hicks.

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