Dakotas Face Aftereffects of Snow, Mild Weather Expected Across Midwest

While most of the Midwest is forecasted to see mild weather, North and South Dakota handle challenges with snow.

October’s in full swing, but harvest has been at a start-and-stop pace for many farmers with stretches of rain and snow appearing throughout the month in the western and northwestern portion of the Corn Belt.

In the southeast region of the Corn Belt, parts of southern Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois fight drier conditions as October progresses.

Snow aftereffects

Parts of North and South Dakota experienced snowfall last week with totals reaching over 2 feet in areas.

“At the very least, the ground’s going to stay saturated for a while,” says AccuWeather meteorologist Dale Mohler. “[The ground] wasn’t frozen before the snow, and the snow’s now melting into that saturated soil, so it’s just going to remain very wet up there for a while.”

One positive takeaway for farmers from the poorly timed snow is the water content in the snow, says Mohler. The water content ratio for the snow was 15- or 20-to-1, meaning for every 15 or 20 inches of snow, an inch of water is left.

With the snow behind it, North Dakota appears to have a better outlook in the short term.

“The good news up there is that there aren’t really any big storms shown over the next week or two,” Mohler says. “There is one rain event coming this weekend where there could be a .5 inch of rain in the places that had the heaviest snowfall.”

Farther south, where less snow came down, areas could see up to an inch of rain, according to Mohler.

This week’s outlook

While the Dakotas deal with the remaining snow, the eastern side of the Corn Belt has stayed mostly dry. The U.S. Department of Agriculture listed the crop moistures in parts of southern Indiana, Ohio, and Illinois as abnormally dry to excessively dry in its report on the week ending in October 5.

Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and eastern Indiana are projected to receive .5 inch to 1 inch of rain on Tuesday night and Wednesday, says Mohler. 

The rest of the Midwest is expected to stay cool and dry early this week with temperatures rising later in the week. When the weekend arrives, the western side of the Corn Belt will see some rain on Sunday, and the east will receive showers on Sunday night and into Monday.

The Sunday and Monday showers will stay around a .5 inch to 1 inch throughout the Midwest, says Mohler. Mohler expects most places to be dried out by Monday afternoon. 

Next week’s outlook

While the western side of the Corn Belt is dealing with snow in spots, the eastern part could also see colder temperatures in the coming weeks. 

Next week reveals slightly cooler temperatures, says Mohler. The temperatures could average about 1°F. to 3°F. cooler than normal, so daytime highs would sit around the 50s and 60s. When next weekend hits, so could the cold weather. 

“There could be a pretty chilly air mass late in the weekend — might be the coldest of the season, so far — where temperatures in the east, which haven’t had a frost yet, could get a frost or freeze next weekend,” Mohler says.

Temperatures could drop soon in the eastern Midwest, but the Corn Belt as a whole is expect to avoid the snow in the near future.

During the next two weeks, the Midwest should remain safe from any significant snow, says Mohler.

“It seems like the storms aren’t quite as cold as the one that came through last weekend,” Mohler says. 

Next week will see temperatures around below-freezing later in the week for the eastern part of the Corn Belt, and the western part could see temperatures in range for a frost or freeze earlier in the week.

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