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Planters Will Sit Next Week Across the Midwest

Take advantage of the warmer temperatures and clear skies found in most of the Midwest today. The sunny skies will only stick around for another day or two before a cold front will stall across the southern Midwest, bringing widespread rain.

“From late Sunday through Thursday, Midwest states will receive .5 inch to 2 inches of rain,” says Dale Mohler, senior meteorologist at AccuWeather. “The rains will cover 80% of this area.”

Most portions of the Midwest receive 4 to 5 inches of total rain in May, so areas that receive 1.5 to 2 inches during this time period will be a bit wetter than average.

“There is no long stretch of dry weather in the next week. There won’t be more than two days in a row where it won’t rain,” says Mohler. “Farmers are in decent shape right now because of a good planting start in mid- to late-April, but this will cause some planting delays across the Midwest.” 

Unlike the cold weather that accompanied last weekend’s showers, the forecast for next week isn’t chilly. “There will be some cooling, but the temperature will stay within a few degrees of normal,” says Dan Hicks, meteorologist at Freese-Notis Weather.

When Will the Rain Let Up?

“There will be a window again late next week and the following weekend after this next wet spell passes,” explains Hicks. From then on, there will be short periods of drier weather in between storms. 

“Toward the end of May, fewer storms will come through and rain will taper off,” adds Mohler. 

There has been a widespread variation in planting progress so far, which will most likely continue thanks to the forecasted scattered storms. According to the USDA’s Crop Progress Report for the week ending May 1, Nebraska only has 26% of corn planting complete while Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, and Minnesota are well ahead of the five-year average. 

“With this type of weather forecast, there will still be pockets that trail behind the five-year pace because they had heavy rain this spring and may continue to receive rain,” says Hicks.

Slightly Warmer, Drier Summer

Both Mohler and Hicks agree that summer temperatures will be 1°F. to 3°F. above normal. Neither is as confident in predicting the precipitation pattern, but they both believe it will tend toward drier.

“I suspect we will see highly variable summer rainfall across the Midwest,” says Hicks. “There may be pockets where it is dry enough to cause issues.”

Mohler is predicting the Midwest will see 70% to 90% of normal rainfall. “If it’s 90%, that’s not as big of a deal as long as it’s not too hot,” he explains. “If it’s closer to 70%, that’s a problem. When precipitation is 70% of normal, you have reductions in crop yields.”

Timing of the rain will also make a big difference for the 2016 corn and soybean crops. “If you have four weeks that are really dry, that will have a bigger impact on the crops vs. getting a consistent 80% to 90% of normal rainfall spread evenly across the summer,” Mohler adds.

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