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Rain on the Way
Rain is on the way for most of the central U.S. according to meteorologist Joel Widenor of Commodity Weather Group.
A lot of the expected precipitation will come through late next week. However, the northwestern Midwest may see rain earlier in the week. “Over the next six or seven days the bulk of the rain that we will see will be up into the Dakotas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and maybe catch a little bit of northern Iowa, but then as you get into late next week, that’s when it looks like we start to get better coverage of areas like Nebraska, even a good portion of Kansas and across Iowa, as well as into Indiana and Ohio, most of the areas around the Great Lakes.”
Just a few parts of the Midwest may miss out on the precipitation. “The only spots we are still leaving out are perhaps a little bit of central Illinois, northern Missouri, and southeast Iowa, but it’s probably only about 15 to 20% of the belt that could get shortchanged on some of that rain.
In the next six to ten days, the rain is even expected to reach into states suffering from drought including Nebraska, Kansas, and Texas. The U.S. Drought Monitor Map released June 14, 2018 indicates the southeast part of Nebraska is abnormally dry and experiencing moderate drought. Conditions in Kansas range from abnormally dry to extreme drought. Ten counties in the Texas panhandle are suffering from exceptional drought, surrounded by lesser degrees of drought.
While the rains aren’t expected to solve the drought problems, some relief will be welcomed by many farmers in the area. “We’re not going to see the drought completely eliminated, but it will probably knock the drought down by at least a category or so across those areas,” explains Widenor.
“The totals are going to be a fairly substantial out of the activity that we have coming through next week,” he continues. “It looks like a lot of those areas out in the western Plains have a pretty good chance of coming in with somewhere between one and three inches, and there'll be some areas that will do a little bit more than that.”
For wheat farmers in the central Plains, the rain may not be all good news. Growers that still have winter wheat to harvest across the region may take a bit of a quality hit. Windenor says, “It's probably going to at least lower the quality of the wheat crop a little in some of those areas in the central Plains, especially as you get back into western parts of the central Plains where some of the bigger totals may focus.”
However, cotton growers in west Texas will be relieved to have some rain in the near future. “They will see some significant improvement in their irrigation supplies and in the soil moisture out of that event,” Widenor says.
Naturally, summer showers bring the potential for severe weather, but that isn’t anything unusual for the Midwest. “It's just kind of comes along with the territory at this time of year that you'll, you'll tend to get some severe thunderstorms with these sorts of events,” Widenor explains.
Over the past week some farmers have turned to social media to document hail and dramatic storms, but Widenor says those events have not been widespread enough to be significant on a state or national level. This year’s activity doesn’t stand out as abnormal.
“It's always, it's very, very, very rare for an event actually be widespread enough to create notable damage on more than the very localized level,” Widenor says.
The western Plains and southwestern Midwest are predicted have high temperatures through Monday with many areas achieving temperatures in the high 90s. Some parts of Nebraska and Kansas are expected to hit the 100-degree mark.
But, with rain on the way the high temperatures aren’t expected to last more than a few days. Other than being uncomfortable to work in, farmers shouldn’t notice the heat causing any damage to crops since it is not peak pollination season. After the heat wave passes on Monday the southwest Midwest will probably be in the low nineties and the rest of the Midwest should expect temperatures in the mid-eighties for the rest of the month of June.
Widenor says there’s no significant weather events in the forecast for South America. With limited rainfall predicted for the area, corn harvest progress should move along smoothly.
Throughout the spring there has been concern surrounding the Russian wheat crops. A cool wet spring prevented farmers from planting all their spring wheat.
Widenor says now the concerns in southern Russia across to parts of south eastern Ukraine are significant. Warm, dry conditions have been hindering the corn crop. He expects those challenging conditions to lower yield potential and persist as the crop enters a critical part of the growing season. Widenor estimates half of the Ukraine corn crop and at least half of the Russian corn crop will be negatively impacted.