A Little Drought Relief for Farm Country, But a Long Way To Go


Drought has been on the minds of many in agriculture for several weeks. However, some welcome rainfall fell in parts of farm country over the weekend. Ryan Martin is an Agricultural Meteorologist from Warsaw, Indiana. He says there may be more moisture on the way in farm country over the next seven to ten days.

“We’re going to see moisture developing in a lot of very dry areas, up to this point. It starts in the Plains, particularly the Northern Plains first, and then following that up with moisture coming through the Central Plains. And then, we have an active weather pattern across parts of the Corn Belt, I think, Thursday and Friday. The Western Corn Belt gets it first, followed by the Central and Eastern Corn Belt going into next weekend. So really, I have rain coming to all growing areas at some point over the next ten days. I have to throw out that it will not be enough to satisfy the Drought Monitor maps and make all those nasty browns and yellows and oranges go away.

He talks about some of the changes in the weather patterns that are bringing in cooler temperatures and some moisture.

“You get some air mass changes and here over the past week, we’ve seen some very hot air funneling north and seeing a quote, “hot dome” developing over the western United States. Well, if you’re pushing the jetstream that far north up into Canada, into British Columbia, Alberta, even Saskatchewan, you see an amplification of a deeper trough farther to the east, and so we’ve seen temperatures kind of moderate a little better, and even cooling down for the next seven to 10 days, as well. I think that’s part of it. I also think you’re getting a little bit more moisture injected into the southern United States, out the tropics, that can eventually funnel its way up into the corn belt as well.”

The Southern U.S. has seen more rain than it wants to.

“The problem that they’ve seen down there is not the frequency of moisture as much as when it does rain, it pours, not to sound cliché. But you’re seeing a lot of moisture, when it comes, coming in, three, four, five, or six-inch totals just over the past week or so. You saw some eight and nine-inch totals down in the Delta, in the Deep South, definitely seeing some tropical influences. And again, it’s not the moisture. It’s the all-at-once aspect of the moisture that’s problematic in the South.”

As the pattern switches into more of what we typically see in the summertime, Martin says it should stay around for a while.

“I think we sustain it into probably the first half of July, the way it’s looking for me right now. My long-term forecast for the growing season has always turned out hotter and drier during the second half of July through August. I’m standing by that; I’m not changing it right now. But still, I think we’re looking at decent moisture. I’m not going to say excessive, but decent moisture now through probably mid-July, in most.”

He says the drought isn’t necessarily due to just a dry spring. He says it’s more about a lack of moisture during the previous winter that’s making things a little worse than they would be otherwise.