Rain to fall on parched Midwest by end of week: forecasters

Reuters News
Posted: Jul 10, 2012 2:52 PM
Rain to fall on parched Midwest by end of week: forecasters

By Mark Weinraub

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Corn and soybean fields in much of the Midwest will remain dry until the end of the week, with temperatures hovering in the 80s and 90s degrees Fahrenheit, forecasters predicted Tuesday.

However, the return of typical summer weather is unlikely to reverse the damage to corn and soybean crops caused by the crippling drought and heat wave that hit the Midwest during the past month.

The condition of both the corn and soybean crops fell to their lowest level for early July since 1988 during the past month, sharply cutting expectations for the harvest and sending the futures market soaring.

"Temperatures will not be as hot as they have been, but still warm enough to keep evaporation rates high and, therefore, crop stress will continue across parts of the region," said Drew Lerner, a meteorologist with World Weather Inc.

Updated midday weather models showed mixed changes, adding more rain for this week in the eastern Dakotas and Minnesota as well as southeast Ohio, but removing storms for northern Nebraska through central Indiana.

The model called for cooler and wetter conditions next week in the northern half of the belt. However, Lerner said he was not changing his outlook.

Joel Widenor of the Commodity Weather Group said warmer temperatures were in store next week.

"Temperatures still look to warm back up next week ... but not as extreme as last week," Widenor told a Reuters online chat room.

Rains were expected in eastern Midwest states such as Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio on Friday and into the weekend. The storms were expected to bring 0.3 to 0.9 inch of rain to those areas, with Kentucky being the wettest, Lerner said.

More storms were forecast in the upper Midwest and northern Plains, with South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin expected to get 0.4 to 1.25 inches of rain during the weekend.

The weather should be wetter than earlier forecast for the eastern states during the 1- to 5-day period, according to a research note from MDA EarthSat Weather/CropCAST.

Commodity Weather Group also said that the eastern states will receive more rain that previously predicted, but that "dryness concerns should only ease slightly from the better than half of the Midwest that currently is struggling with the most severe moisture deficits."

The 10- to 15-day forecast called for scattered rains in parts of the region of 0.25 to 0.75 inch. Temperatures will begin to rise again during that period, and could hit 100 degrees west of the Missouri River, Lerner said.

(Reporting by Mark Weinraub and Julie Ingwersen; Editing by John Picinich and Sofina Mirza-Reid)