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Eastern Corn Belt Faces Rain, 4 to 8 Inches of Snow to Fall in Six Other States
From planting to harvest, Mother Nature’s thrown challenges at farmers across the Midwest throughout 2019.
Those obstacles continued for many Midwest farmers as they woke up to a white blanket of snow on Tuesday morning in parts of the Corn Belt.
The Weather Channel estimates almost all of Kansas, Iowa, and Wisconsin received measurable snow on Monday and into Tuesday. Portions of the Dakotas, Nebraska, Minnesota, Missouri, Illinois, and Michigan also received snowfall too, according to the Weather Channel.
Even before snow arrived, harvest remained behind schedule, as the USDA released another report on Monday, showing lackluster progress results across the Corn Belt. The top 18 corn-producing states sit at 41% harvested with a five-year average of 61%. The top soybean states trail the 80% five-year average, reporting in at 62% complete.
With snow already on the ground and a behind-schedule harvest, snow and rain projects to fall in the Corn Belt later this week, too.
A majority of the states impacted by Monday’s snow will be the focal point of more snowfall on Wednesday, according to AccuWeather meteorologist Dale Mohler.
“It looks like there could be a swath of 4 to 8 inches of snow over the southeast part of Iowa Wednesday and Wednesday night,” Mohler says. “It’s dry and cold [Tuesday] ahead of it, and then it’s dry and cold Thursday and Friday behind the storm … If you get north and west of Des Moines, it’s probably going to miss out, and not see any snow.”
Mohler forecasts the snow to start in Kansas and southeast Nebraska before affecting northern Missouri, southeast Iowa, northwest Illinois, and Wisconsin. Mohler expects around 4 to 8 inches of snow for the areas affected. Minnesota and the Dakotas should miss the snow, but the two states will still see dry and cold conditions.
With soggy conditions already appearing in parts of the western Corn Belt, more moisture on the ground generates concern for some farmers.
Mohler says the snow ratio — the ratio of how much moisture a snow brings — will be around 10:1, which is around average, according to the National Weather Service. A 10:1 ratio means every 10 inches of snow would generate an inch of water, so less than an inch of water is expected to come from the snow.
The ground absorbs most of the melted snow, as long as it melts from the temperature being above freezing and not from a rainfall that follows, according to Mohler. The Midwest will be chilly this week, but temperatures should remain above freezing for the most part.
While another round of snow is unwelcome by most, it won’t stick around for too long, Mohler says.
“It’ll melt fairly quick,” Mohler says. “It’s just too early in the season. The ground’s not frozen. It’s warm, so it’ll melt from below and from above. I’d say most of the snow will be melted by Friday afternoon.”
Rain in the East
Ohio and almost all of Indiana avoided precipitation of any kind, while the western Corn Belt dealt with snow early this week.
Parts of Indiana and Ohio could use a dry spell for harvest after receiving over an inch from October 21 through October 28.
A widespread rain appears in the forecast over the two states, along with Kentucky and Michigan, as October comes to a close.
“They’re going to get all rain [and no snow],” Mohler says. “They’ll get an inch to an inch and a half of rain Wednesday, Wednesday night, into Thursday.”
Once the wet October wraps up, chilly and dry weather follows when November comes. Early November will spread colder temperatures across the Midwest before temperatures arrive at about normal as the month progresses, according to Mohler.
Mohler says the month will start dry before showers potentially arrive on November 8-9 across the Corn Belt.