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Looking past precipitation: monitoring values for other evaporation variables

Looking at temperature, humidity, and wind, these charts show benchmarks for an average April in the Midwest.

Weather has always been a key component in farming, as recent years have reemphasized. Veteran farmers in the Midwest have seen many forms of extreme weather during their time tending to fields and livestock. 

Recently, Mother Nature’s extreme of choice has been wetness in the Corn Belt and other parts of the country. While 2020 will likely be gentler to Midwest farmers in terms of wetness, there’s still reason to have concerns about moisture this planting season after the soggy series last year.

Moisture is on many farmers’ minds this go-around, and rain totals should be monitored regularly. Aside from precipitation, though, a handful of factors go into drying out fields. In a recent interview with Successful Farming magazineUSDA director of the Midwest climate hub, Dennis Todey highlighted temperature, air moisture, wind, and sunlight as variables outside of precipitation totals to assist drying fields. 

Read more: Wetness status across the Corn Belt remains a concern

Rain might be an obvious factor to monitor, but Successful Farming magazine wanted to provide benchmarks for the other variables to give farmers a tool to compare current conditions with historical totals. Below, averages for temperature, humidity, and wind are listed to help provide context to current, daily totals. If wetness is a concern for specific farmers, those farmers should hope 2020 wind and temperature (and sunlight) consistently reaches higher-than-average levels while humidity stays at lower- than-average levels to promote evaporation. It's worth noting, too, that there are other factors that play into evaporation, but this is a starting guideline. 

The states with a location below all fall on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Long-Range Flood Risk at a risk over 50% for major or moderate long-range flood risk. Data isn't available for each specific location, but a nearby city is listed below for the Dakotas, Iowa, Missouri, and Illinois. Again, more factors influence evaporation, but hopefully this guide helps readers digest the daily weather report.

April Averages for Des Moines, Iowa

Date Normal Low (F) Normal High (F) Wind MPH Average Average Relative Humidity
1 36 57 12.85 63.52
2 36 57 12.46 64.41
3 36 57 13.37 65.35
4 37 58 14.01 62.79
5 37 58 13.39 61.90
6 37 59 13.22 60.34
7 38 59 12.43 61.84
8 38 60 12.70 63.22
9 39 60 12.45 61.59
10 39 60 12.49 61.40
11 39 61 12.82 62.63
12 40 61 13.23 63.61
13 40 62 11.97 63.14
14 41 62 13.01 64.32
15 41 62 13.34 62.90
16 41 63 13.25 60.44
17 42 63 12.59 61.22
18 42 63 12.60 62.86
19 43 64 12.87 64.06
20 43 64 12.04 64.13
21 43 65 12.13 61.98
22 44 65 11.57 63.02
23 44 65 12.29 61.87
24 44 66 11.76 61.31
25 45 66 12.34 62.14
26 45 66 12.23 62.27
27 46 67 12.15 62.93
28 46 67 11.97 63.29
29 46 67 11.58 63.95
30 47 68 11.66 65.15
Average 41.1 62.3 12.56 62.70

*Temperature data gathered from the National Weather Service
**Wind and humidity data gathered from Iowa Environmental Mesonet

Read more: Predictions today, prescriptions tomorrow: research aims to convert data into optimal solutions

April Averages for Fargo, North Dakota

Date Normal Low (F) Normal High (F) Wind MPH Average Average Relative Humidity
1 27 46 13.23 71.46
2 27 47 13.13 71.43
3 27 48 14.28 70.76
4 28 48 14.41 68.61
5 28 49 12.26 68.56
6 29 50 13.02 68.17
7 29 50 13.63 66.85
8 30 51 13.92 66.91
9 30 52 13.34 65.03
10 30 53 12.52 63.88
11 31 53 13.37 64.48
12 31 54 13.59 65.51
13 32 55 13.18 65.69
14 32 55 14.34 64.08
15 33 56 14.70 64.19
16 33 57 14.26 62.88
17 33 57 12.51 62.35
18 34 58 14.28 63.99
19 34 58 14.39 63.37
20 35 59 12.63 63.77
21 35 60 12.51 64.06
22 36 60 13.25 60.51
23 36 61 13.25 60.49
24 36 61 13.00 60.06
25 37 62 13.16 61.28
26 37 62 13.87 60.40
27 38 63 14.03 61.66
28 38 63 12.83 59.16
29 38 64 12.85 59.30
30 39 64 13.22 60.40
Average 32.7 55.8 13.43 64.31

*Temperature data gathered from the National Weather Service
**Wind and humidity data gathered from Iowa Environmental Mesonet

April Averages for Huron, South Dakota

Date Normal Low (F) Normal High (F) Wind MPH Average Average Relative Humidity
1 28 52 12.27 66.27
2 29 52 13.02 69.39
3 29 53 14.29 68.96
4 30 53 13.50 66.33
5 30 54 12.24 64.42
6 30 54 13.44 65.29
7 31 55 13.43 64.50
8 31 55 13.26 66.88
9 31 56 12.15 64.69
10 32 57 13.08 65.10
11 32 57 13.77 67.06
12 33 58 13.17 67.21
13 33 58 13.19 66.48
14 33 59 13.85 64.54
15 34 59 13.85 62.06
16 34 60 13.21 62.85
17 35 60 12.03 63.15
18 35 60 13.49 66.41
19 35 61 13.31 67.80
20 36 61 13.09 65.71
21 36 62 11.72 66.85
22 37 62 12.87 64.00
23 37 63 12.67 61.25
24 37 63 12.85 65.30
25 38 64 11.73 64.40
26 38 64 13.35 67.97
27 39 64 12.73 67.59
28 39 65 12.88 64.80
29 40 65 13.31 66.26
30 40 66 12.83 66.49
Average 34 59 13.02 65.67

*Temperature data gathered from the National Weather Service
**Wind and humidity data gathered from Iowa Environmental Mesonet

Read more: Increased risk of spring flooding in central and southeastern states

April Averages for Peoria, Illinois

Date Normal Low (F) Normal High (F) Wind MPH Average Average Relative Humidity
1 37 57 11.70 64.66
2 37 58 11.24 64.67
3 37 58 11.78 65.59
4 38 59 11.87 65.29
5 38 59 11.85 63.78
6 38 59 11.16 60.29
7 39 60 11.63 59.85
8 39 60 11.18 63.44
9 39 61 11.34 61.49
10 40 61 11.14 61.32
11 40 61 11.66 61.86
12 41 62 12.47 60.54
13 41 62 10.93 62.40
14 41 63 10.91 64.43
15 42 63 11.16 62.88
16 42 63 11.31 63.48
17 42 64 10.81 62.48
18 43 64 11.32 63.55
19 43 64 10.89 66.96
20 43 65 11.02 66.33
21 44 65 10.91 65.40
22 44 66 10.41 63.04
23 44 66 10.75 64.16
24 45 66 10.32 61.83
25 45 67 10.98 62.90
26 45 67 10.78 61.18
27 46 67 10.72 63.98
28 46 68 10.45 67.20
29 46 68 10.56 67.38
30 47 68 10.74 68.12
Average 41.7 63 11.13 63.68

*Temperature data gathered from the National Weather Service
**Wind and humidity data gathered from Iowa Environmental Mesonet

April Averages for Columbia, Missouri

Date Normal Low (F) Normal High (F) Wind MPH Average Average Relative Humidity
1 39 61 11.71 57.46
2 40 62 11.73 64.46
3 40 62 11.97 66.56
4 40 62 12.24 62.40
5 41 63 12.19 62.17
6 41 63 12.29 59.87
7 41 63 11.40 62.22
8 42 64 11.25 63.73
9 42 64 11.93 59.68
10 42 64 12.12 63.41
11 43 65 12.50 60.94
12 43 65 12.26 60.65
13 43 65 11.01 65.45
14 44 66 11.82 64.19
15 44 66 11.52 65.45
16 44 66 11.94 63.81
17 45 67 10.54 63.99
18 45 67 11.23 65.46
19 45 67 11.42 65.62
20 46 68 10.82 67.52
21 46 68 11.09 64.65
22 46 68 10.60 64.58
23 47 69 10.97 64.85
24 47 69 10.81 68.52
25 47 69 10.58 70.77
26 48 69 11.30 65.08
27 48 70 11.65 69.45
28 48 70 10.60 70.06
29 48 70 10.65 69.36
30 49 70 10.71 69.94
Average 44 66.1 11.43 64.74

*Temperature data gathered from the National Weather Service
**Wind and humidity data gathered from Iowa Environmental Mesonet

Read more: Expect to see more floods and droughts this spring and summer

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