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Hotter mid-September pushing crops toward maturity

Crops head towards maturity in hotter weather but the trade-off is depleted soil moisture.

Going into mid-September, spotty showers and thunderstorms offer little relief especially when combined with an overall hotter week. 

The week-ending September 11, 2021, was the driest first full week of September in more than 30 years for the Corn Belt, according to data from WeatherTrends360.

Despite this, the U.S. Drought Monitor indicated improvements across drought-stricken areas of the Central and Northern Plains last week. Of course, the Drought Monitor only accounts for data through September 7, which explains some of the discrepancy between the drier trends in the week ending September 11 and drought improvement.

Regardless, any improvement is good news. 

As we move into the middle of September, there will be some chances of showers and thunderstorms across the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest. Yet, the oftentimes spotty nature of this type of precipitation can leave some areas high and dry while others receive a deluge.

In other words, widespread improvement in drought is not expected in mid-September. 

Complicating drought conditions will be hot weather expected across the Corn Belt.

In fact, the week ending September 18 is forecast to be the fourth hottest mid-September period in at least 30 years, according to data from WeatherTrends360. 

While the hot weather will help drive crops to maturity and help drydown as we approach harvest, the trade-off will be depleted soil moisture. With spotty showers and thunderstorms in the forecast, in addition to expected hot conditions, soil moisture will have small chance for a recharge.

Looking ahead into the second half of September, warmer-than-normal temperatures are expected to continue for the Corn Belt, as a whole, with precipitation near normal. At this time, it appears that wetter weather will be favored over some of the drought-stricken areas of the Upper Midwest and into the eastern Dakotas, while much of the rest of the Corn Belt is drier than normal. 

Elsewhere across the U.S., tropical moisture will bring enhanced precipitation along the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast into the first half of the week ending September 18. Flooding is possible across this area and especially south of Interstate 10.

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