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Where Will it Rain Most This Week?

A few weekend showers were the prelude for the coming week, one that will likely keep a lot of planters parked for most of the next five days.

Rainfall was common -- with a few more severe thunderstorms in places like northern Iowa -- in the northern and northwestern Corn Belt. That moisture will likely usher in more widespread rain this week and possibly into next week, forecasters say Monday morning. Meanwhile, parts of the parched central Plains could see in excess of 2 inches of rain as crop-watchers conduct a wheat tour through part of that region this week.

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"Showers across the northwestern Midwest yesterday marked the beginning of a shift to a wetter pattern across the central and western Midwest this week. The heaviest rains across the Corn Belt this week should occur across Nebraska, Iowa, and northern Illinois. Persistent rains in these areas this week should stall planting efforts, but they'll improve soil moisture levels for germination of corn and soybeans. Warm weather this week across the Corn Belt will also favor crop germination," says MDA Weather Services senior ag meteorologist Kyle Tapley. "Widespread and heavy rainfall is expected across the hard red Wheat Belt in the U.S. Plains this week as an area of low pressure develops just east of the Rockies over the next few days. This storm system will initially result in showers across the west-central Plains today, but heavier rains are expected across the west-central and southwestern Plains tomorrow. The rains will favor the northern and eastern Plains on Wednesday and will be fairly widespread across the central and southern Plains on Thursday and Friday."

The northern Plains will share in the rain that falls to the south and east of that region, though it will take more than what's expected to get the soils recharged in that region, Tapley adds.

"Showers are also expected across the northern Plains this week, where recent drier weather has favored spring wheat planting, but increased dryness concerns," he says. "The showers this week in the northern Plains will ease dryness, but more will be needed in order to completely replenish soil moisture."

Though soils remain on the dry side in much of the Plains, the dominant weather pattern for the month of April -- a warm, wet one -- has moisture levels catching up quickly, and beyond this week's wet pattern, that trend is expected to continue.

"This widespread and heavy rainfall event will further improve soil moisture for the wheat crop and will also lead to additional improvements in the longer term drought situation across the central and southwestern Plains. The Precipitation % of Normal map to the right shows the period from April 1 through the five-day forecast (May 8)," Tapley says. "[From April 1 to May 8], a key time period for development of the wheat crop, rainfall is expected to have been above normal in most of the hard red Wheat Belt, with some areas in the western Plains receiving in excess of 300% of normal precipitation during that time. Looking beyond the five-day forecast period, rainfall is expected to remain above normal in most areas in the six- to 10- and 11- to 15-day period."

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