Warm stretch to hit Corn Belt, Brazil to receive more rain

Records could be set in Midwestern areas on Sunday and Monday.

Last year, the Midwest faced plummeting temperatures throughout the early months of 2019, as frigid, low-pressure air spread into areas of the Corn Belt. 

Overall, the Midwest has received a gentler start to the year in 2020 with mostly mild temperatures and some colder days sprinkled in throughout. The National Weather Service in Des Moines, Iowa, shows the wide range of weather in January, recording a high of 59°F. on the January 9 and a low of -4°F. on the 21st. 

Looking ahead to February, areas in the Midwest could set new records for high temperatures, but overall the month is expected to be colder than January, according to AccuWeather meteorologist Dale Mohler.

Super Weather After the Super Bowl

While America’s attention focuses on Miami and the Super Bowl on Sunday, the Midwest won’t feel like Florida weather, but it will see a rise in temperature for this time of year.

This week closes a little warmer on Friday and Saturday, and Sunday and Monday could see records fall for high temperatures in the Corn Belt.

“I think the warmest days the next week or two are Sunday into Monday,” Mohler says. “There’s a pretty strong cold front, it looks like, coming down Monday night and Tuesday [that’s] going to send temperatures back down to below normal. Right ahead of that, Sunday [and] Monday, readings could hit 50°F. I think Monday could be close to 50°F. in Chicago, probably mid-50s in Indianapolis, 60°F. down in St. Louis, so some kind of early spring warmth.”

For example, the Weather Channel projects Monday, February 4 to reach a high of 52°F. in South Bend, Indiana, that would match the record.

After an extremely wet 2019 in the Midwest, does warmer weather and some thawing in February help ground conditions?

Mohler says he doesn’t look too much at February for warmth and thawing, but the end of the month could assist some evaporation. If late February warms up, it benefits the southern half of the Corn Belt the most.

“If you do get some warmer weather in February, especially toward the end of the month, if you get up in the 50s, 60s in the south and 40s and 50s in the north, you get some of the frost out of the ground a little bit, but that’s mostly in the south,” Mohler says. “In the north, February is too early, it’s usually March when that starts to happen.”

For the short-term, though, Sunday and Monday’s biggest effect would be in the northern states in the Midwest, as softening on the top of the ground could halt any kind of fieldwork, but in southern Corn Belt states frozen ground is less of a factor, according to Mohler. 

“I think overall, it’s beneficial,” Mohler says. “You don’t want too many days like this in the wintertime. You want to have normal weather, and you want to have your precipitation. It looks like we’ll get some of that along the way.”

While the warm weather will be greeted by many, it likely won’t last, Mohler says. 

“I think February’s still a winter month; I look at it that way,” Mohler says. “I wouldn’t expect to get too much evaporated in February, and we are expecting February to be colder than what January has been. We’re expecting temperatures near or a few degrees below normal for the month as a whole.”

South America Update

In recent weeks, forecasts have shown steady rain for Argentina and Brazil, and the rainfall has come through.

Brazil projects to see the rains continue, but portions of the country have lagged behind in rain from the majority of Brazil.

“They’ve had good rains – consistent rains,” Mohler says. “The two minor exceptions: the far northeast had a dry start to the summer season [and] the growing season, but they’ve caught up a lot on rainfall recently after a dry start kind of slowed things down there. The far south, [Rio Grande do Sul], they’ve had some dry spells, but usually the dry spells have ended with some heavy rainfall, so they’ve generally done OK. They could use some more rain, but they’re doing OK.”

Mohler says areas between the northeast and Rio Grande do Sul, the southernmost province in Brazil, have received plenty of rain with frequency.

Southwest of Brazil, Argentina has also experienced recent, needed rains, but that rain could slow down in February.

“In Argentina, they’ve had enough rain, and things are in reasonable shape,” Mohler says. “If they get a couple weeks of drier weather in February, which they may, then things could go downhill a little bit. I think we can be sure it’s going to be either a good crop or an average crop – probably not an excellent crop.”

Mohler says February dryness could push the crop down to average levels, but he thinks Argentina could get just enough rain for a good, but not excellent, crop. 

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