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August to End Drier, El Niño Growing Stronger

The forecast for the rest of August shows near-normal temperatures and drier conditions for much of the Midwest, according to MDA Weather Services. Depending on your location in the region, tracking predicts warmer to slightly below-normal temperatures, with wetter conditions trending for the 31- to 60-day outlook. El Niño continues to grow stronger, showing signs that this event could be the strongest recorded since 1950. See details below.

Week of August 17
Precipitation: The western part of the Corn Belt experienced sufficient rainfall this week. South-central Wisconsin and northern Illinois received the most rainfall. Areas that still remain dry across the Midwest are northeast Iowa and southwestern Wisconsin, according to MDA Weather Services senior agriculture meteorologist, Kyle Tapley.

11- to 15-day forecast

Temperature: “August temperatures should end up near normal across much of the Midwest, but slightly above normal around the Great Lakes, especially in Wisconsin, northern Illinois, and Michigan,” says Tapley.

Precipitation: MDA Weather Services predicts August will end drier than normal from eastern Iowa into southern Wisconsin, northern Illinois, central Indiana, and Ohio.

While the dryness has led to some crop stress in the first half of August, rains this week have improved soil moisture and crop conditions in most areas, Tapley says.

31- to 60-day outlook

Temperature: The temperature forecast for the western Plains, Prairies, and Delta is trending warmer, helping to reduce the risk of an early frost. However, the central and northern Midwest is expected to average slightly below-normal temperatures.

Precipitation: The precipitation outlook is trending wetter in the southwestern Midwest and Southeast, but drier in the southern Plains region. Donald Keeney, senior agriculture meteorologist for MDA Weather Services doesn't foresee the wetter pattern to pose a significant effect on crop drydown, but could slightly delay corn and soybean harvest. Drier weather in the northern Plains and northwestern Midwest would favor a more timely harvest.

El Niño update
“El Niño continues to strengthen across the equatorial Pacifica and all indications are that this event will end up as one of the strongest on record since 1950,” says Tapley.

Seven strong El Niño events have occurred since 1950, but this El Niño may challenge 1997, the strongest on record.

Typically, strong El Niño events are associated with above-normal temperatures in the northern part of the U.S., and below-normal temperatures in the southern regions.

For the Midwest, the event usually results in slightly drier conditions for eastern areas and slightly more precipitation in west-central areas.

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