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Rains to be mixed blessing in Corn Belt

For this afternoon's crop progress report, I would look for a national corn planting figure of 38% complete (39% or less would make this the third slowest pace since 1985). Rains over the weekend in the Northern Plains (over an inch for Jamestown and Fargo) and big rains this week in the west (especially western North Dakota, eastern Montana, and into eastern parts of the Canadian prairies) will continue to create delays in fieldwork operations there.

For the Corn Belt, look for most of the rain through early Wednesday to be over northern and eastern parts of the region, mainly Minnesota, northeastern Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, northern Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. Widespread rains will then cover the region for later Wednesday through the end of the work- week. Most of the Corn Belt will see over a half inch of rain this week and localized rains will exceed two inches.

 That is not good news for areas that still have not recovered from all of the wet weather of late April and early this month, but is good news in the west where I am hearing complaints of newly-seeded corn sitting in dry dirt.

A point of emphasis in my reports from late last week was that we were going to see yet another round of very stressful weather for the hard-red winter wheat crop of the southern Plains, and unfortunately that forecast proved to be correct.

 A few 90s for highs on Friday were replaced by widespread 90-plus degree high temperatures for Saturday and Sunday. Childress and Wichita Falls both made it to at least 100 degrees on both of those days (a sizzling 107 at Childress for Sunday), and joining suit were places like Hobart, Altus, Gage, Medicine Lodge, and Dodge City on Sunday. Making matters even worse yesterday was how incredibly dry the air mass was over especially the Texas panhandle. At one time yesterday afternoon it was 105 degrees at Childress with a dew point of only 13 degrees...equating to a relative humidity of 3 percent. At Dalhart last evening, the air temperature was 92 degrees but the dew point temperature was six degrees BELOW ZERO...a relative humidity of just 2 percent.

The same areas that were 100 degrees yesterday will make 100 again today, and a few spots might reach 100 tomorrow. I think that the rainfall chances for the hard-red belt this week are better than what I thought last week, with the best chances coming for Wednesday with some places seeing nice amounts. Southwestern Kansas and especially the panhandles though still look to be short-changed.

Freese-Notis Weather, Inc. Des Moines, Iowa Copyright 2011 - All Rights Reserved

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