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The Corn Belt's summer starts with rain, meteorologist says

Summer is just days away.

INDIANOLA, Iowa -- Summer officially kicks off this weekend. 

The weather models may be causing confusion for farmers trying to figure out if their crops will get a drink soon.

For the western half of the Corn Belt, there is good news for the next three to four days.

Short-term outlook 

The Midwest dry pattern will come to an end Thursday, says AccuWeather meteorologist Dale Mohler.

“There’s a front that we are tracking across the northern Plains. It will spark thunderstorms in the eastern Dakotas and Minnesota, late Wednesday night. Those storms move east into Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, Nebraska, Kansas, and Missouri on Thursday,” Mohler says.

It’s worth noting that in the four-state area of northwest Missouri, southwest Iowa, southeast Nebraska, and northeast Kansas, 14 of the first 16 days of June have recorded above-90°F. temperatures. 

Those areas will see a break from that, with weekend temperatures ranging from the 70°F. to 85°F. area, Mohler says.

“There will be cloud cover and some welcome rains coming through all of those areas,” Mohler says.

Rainfall amounts will vary, as is the nature of summertime rains. Right now, 1 to 2 inches will be the heaviest amounts, with some areas being missed or receiving only 0.25 inch.

End of the month

The weather outlook for the end of the month of June is a bit confusing, with the European and U.S. models diverging.

“The American model is showing some rains moving into the southern Plains and lower Mississippi Valley, but removes them from the Midwest,” Mohler says. “The European model shows scattered rains throughout the Midwest throughout several days of the end of the month.”

Mohler added, “I believe the European model, which is better news for the farming community. I just don’t think the dry air will get pushed as far south as the American model shows.”

July Outlook

Because the U.S. corn crop was planted early, it means that it will tassel early. So, early July weather is being eyed closely by farmers and market watchers.

Mohler agrees that this year’s pollination period will be several weeks ahead of last year.

“It’s hard to get too specific, but there are not too many crop-weather concerns for the early part of July. People are always concerned about a spell of really hot weather in July. It could happen. But I tend to think that it will be a hot spell for a few days rather than a week or two,” Mohler says.

Drought Monitor

This week’s drought monitor map will be updated Thursday. 

Mohler expects this week’s report will show the increasing dryness in the upper western half of the Corn Belt.

“I think the latest drought monitor will show western Iowa and eastern Nebraska with first-layer readings of drought-like conditions, where it previously showed no drought,” Mohler says. 

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