Rainfall too little too late

Rainfall over the past seven days was much needed but too late.

The past seven days have been unsettled across the Corn Belt with above-normal rainfall across many of the worst drought-stricken areas. However, the rain arrived a bit too late to have much impact on the corn and soybean crop yields. Rain chances continue over the second weekend of September, but then a drier regime returns.

Perhaps the major swing in temperatures seen from Labor Day weekend and into the following week had a bigger impact on the agricultural industry than the recent rainfall. Temperatures went from summer-like highs in the 90s and even 100s across the Plains plummeting to highs only in the 50s just after Labor Day. Parts of the northern Plains saw frosts and freezes that put an abrupt end to the growing season, however, the Corn Belt was largely spared thanks to rain and cloud cover. In the Central Rockies, an early-season snowstorm brought several inches of snow across the region. This wild swing in temperatures likely stressed livestock. Luckily, this spell of cold weather was short-lived with temperatures moderating over the weekend (September 12-13). Warmer- and drier-than-normal conditions are expected for fall as a whole in the Corn Belt.

READ MORE: Rain returns to the Corn Belt forecast

The warmer and drier forecast for autumn is reinforced by La Niña conditions now present. The Climate Prediction Center announced on September 10 that La Niña is present and likely to continue through the Northern Hemisphere winter. This supports a warmer- and drier-than-normal autumn in the Corn Belt and an active Atlantic Hurricane Season. In fact, the climatological peak of the hurricane season is September 10, and there certainly is no lack of activity with six active tropical cyclones and disturbances, as of September 11, that need to be monitored for possible development. Currently, none of these systems are expected to bring any significant precipitation to the Corn Belt.

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