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Rains fall in parched Corn Belt

Yesterday was unexpectedly cloudy across Iowa thanks to a broad northeast fetch that brought in moisture off of Lake Michigan. Highs were generally in the 60s to near 70 degrees. The northern half of Illinois saw considerably more sunshine, however, which allowed temperatures to rise into the lower 70s.

Currently, a pretty solid band of much-needed rainfall is moving across central Iowa. Radar-indicated rainfall shows a rather widespread swath of .25-inch has already fallen this morning with localized amounts to a 1 inch west of Atlantic, Iowa. This band of rain will begin weakening later this morning and will dissipate near the Iowa/Illinois border by early afternoon but not before dropping an additional 0.1- to .25-inch across much of central Iowa.

Tomorrow much warmer weather arrives with mainly dry weather across the Midwest. Thursday, a strong cold front will approach the region from the west. With an unseasonably warm and humid airmass in place, this frontal passage looks to drop widespread rainfall totals across the Midwest of 0.5- to 1 inch. Locally, amounts may vary substantially, and it wouldn't surprise me if some locales see in excess of 2 inches of rain, with the best chance for these higher amounts in northern Missouri, southern Iowa, and extreme western Illinois.

This weekend drier weather will be in store before another rather cold front approaches the area during Monday and Tuesday. Overall, temperatures will be above-normal across the Midwest the next  one to two weeks with near-normal precipitation. Latest data from yesterday's crop progress report shows corn and soybean conditions generally in the fair and good categories, with a very small proportion in the excellent category. Unfortunately, with 55% to 85% of corn already dented, any additional rainfall will not likely have much impact on the maturing corn crops.

On the other hand, widespread rainfall over the next three days should yield improved growing conditions for soybeans as they continue to drop leaves and approach maturity: 10% to 30% of soybeans on average have dropped leaves across the Midwest. In addition to the Midwest, rainfall across the northern Plains will provide adequate soil moisture for winter wheat planting, with minor fieldwork delays possible. I see no indications of a widespread freeze here in the next six to 10 days.

Freese-Notis Weather/Weather Trades, Inc. Des Moines, Iowa Copyright 2012 - All Rights Reserved

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