Much colder air and a nice little winter storm headline the first full week of 2015 in the Hoosier state. A weekend cold front has brought the beginnings of an arctic air mass into the region, and we will see our temperatures stair step down over the coming few days. Currently, we look for our coldest temps to be in for Wednesday, when parts of extreme northern Indiana may struggle to get much past 0-5 above for high temperatures and lows will be well below zero. Before we get there, though, we will have to deal with a quick moving clipper system that will move across the region from late Monday afternoon through Tuesday midday. We like snow totals of at least 2-4 inches, over the northern third of the state and models have actually bumped potential a bit further, expanding the range up to 7” on the top end. Models this year have tended to have a bias to overdo systems in the 2-3 days ahead of time period to this point…but on the flip side…this will be first storm of the season that actually comes in with cold air already in place…so all precipitation will be snow, and it will be able to start very easily, due to the fact that the atmosphere is already moist and primed for precipitation development. The snow total map at right is through midday Tuesday.
There is a winter storm watch out for a large part of the northern half of the state. Again, we like up to 4 inches very easily…and will open a range of 2-6”. Stay tuned for a quick update at midday, as we will make any changes to snow ranges based off of midday models.
Temps today will range from the teens in the north to low 20s south. Overnight lows will stay fin the single digits to mid teens, thanks to the low clouds and precipitation overnight. Tomorrow, as the snow tapers and ends, we should see temps in the upper teens in the north to near 30 in the south, with overnight lows again in the single digits to teens. Following this clipper system another cold front brings the coldest air for Wednesday with highs 2 to 15, lows 5-20 below. We will see dangerous wind chills for Wednesday.
Temperatures moderate a bit for the end of the week but will not get anywhere near normal. We see the bitter cold pattern holding easily through most of January. A weak clipper system may trigger some snow over the northern lakes Thursday night into Friday, but very little of that will make it south into Indiana. If any at all, snow will be limited to the northern two tiers of counties. Farther south, we should see just clouds, if even that. Another weak front comes together over the state late Saturday night into Sunday. This front connects to much better moisture and organized low pressure moving through the lower Mississippi valley, but that moisture has little reason to move north. Right now we look for a tenth of two of liquid equivalent, which, if all snow, would yield a coating to an inch or two. We don’t look for coverage to be any better than about 40% with that front, and would skew that coverage to the southern part of the state if we are really honest.
Next week is cold and mostly dry with a reinforcing shot of arctic air arriving early in the week. We should counterbalance that cold air a bit with full sunshine for most of the week. Temperatures should average about 10 degrees below normal at least for the week. The extended period shows a potentially impressive system for the 18th through the 20th that could yield some big snows. The problem with that system right now is that there is model disagreement on temperatures…the model that shows the most precipitation also tries to warm the atmosphere too much (in our opinion). So, more time will be needed to hone in on that event. The long and short of it is that we need to buckle in and look for winter weather to finally settle in. We do not see any days out of the next 16 with above normal temps, and a majority of the days will be well below normal.
And now a look BEYOND INDIANA.
Weather that Impacts CORN:
Argentina has good rains moving through in the weeks ahead. We see half to 1.5” rains from Tuesday through Thursday with 80% coverage over corn areas. Then another half to 2 inches from Sunday through Tuesday of next week with 80% coverage. Scattered showers the rest of the week can add another half inch of rain, and then a strong system around the 18th can bring another inch. Temps look to be normal to slightly above normal with highs in the upper 80s to low 90s. With the rains, though, temps are not seen to be significantly stressful.
Brazil corn areas will not benefit from as much rain in the weeks ahead. The rains from Argentina do not make it any farther north than extreme southern Rio Grande do Sul, and will only lead to half to 1.5 inches total even there. The rest of Brazil’s first crop corn areas will see no more than half inch rain totals from now through the 15th. From the 15th through the 20th, we can see 1-2 inch rain totals in Brazil corn areas. Temps will be normal to above, and with the scattered nature of precipitation over the next 10 days, the above normal temps have to be looked on as less than ideal.
South African corn production areas will see on and off precipitation over the coming two weeks, with scattered showers the norm. We see no significant frontal passage or strong system moving through corn areas. Temps will be below normal. The best chance of rain will come in a window from the 13th through the 15th, as a strong storm churns off the coast in the Indian Ocean, and might throw some extra energy back to the west into South Africa.
Well below normal temps impact the entire US Corn Belt this week. High temperatures I in WI, MN, northern IL, northern IA and parts of MI will not get above 0 on Wednesday. Overnight lows will from 15-25 below or colder in those same areas. While this has no major impact on crops, after a December that was normal to above normal in temperatures, this should jerk many in the industry back to reality. A quick moving winter storm will spread across the northern half of the corn belt from this afternoon through tomorrow midday, and will bring liquid equivalent of .25-.50”…snows of 2-8 inches. Precipitation will be limited after tomorrow from I-80 southward, and we may not see our next major system impact the Corn Belt until late in the period…around the 18th. North of i-80, there will be two other fast moving clipper systems (not including action later today into tomorrow) that can bring half to 3 inch snows or better to the upper Midwest and great lakes. Temps will spend the entire first half of January below normal.
Temperatures last Friday hit 47 degrees Celsius in Rio (117F). Now…not a lot of beans are grown in Rio…but we wanted to watch that heat to see if it moved inland. We did wee temps of 95-102 over the northeast parts of soy country (southern Bahia, Minas Gerais, eastern Goias) over the weekend…but there were also some heavy rains reported in the area. While heat will stress beans some…a hot and wet stress is much better than a hot and dry stress. Pictures from the region continue to show lush, green bushy beans. Farther west, temps continue to be near normal to slightly warm, with good moisture. For the weeks ahead, however, we are seeing limited moisture. Fronts seem to lose moisture in a hurry as the cross into Brazil from the south. The next significant rain chances over the soybean belt will hit around the 15th-20th. In that span, we can see half to 3 inch rains or better with coverage at 70%. Between now and then, though, moisture will be limited to scattered showers and thunderstorms. We believe with warming, that we will see at least enough scattered moisture (due to heat based thunderstorms) to stave off big concerns. The map at right shows areas in the next two weeks that will see significant flowering and pot setting. Right now we are looking for temps to stay in an 86-93 degree range through the period over most areas, and in the lower to mid 90s in the northeast. If those temps are warmer as we move through the drier part of this forecast…stress to the bean crop will need to be discussed with greater urgency. For right now, we will wave only a pale yellow caution flag.
Snow totals over the weekend looked decent in parts of HRW areas in KS. Totals were generally within our expected range of 1-5 inches, areas that missed out on the best snows were in NW KS and in eastern CO…although there were still snow showers there. Winds just blew the snow more. From here, wheat areas will see temps bottom out over the next couple of days and then moderate to finish the week. We can see some blowing snow on the backside of the strong high at midweek, but new significant accumulations are not likely. The next good event will be south in TX and OK for Saturday into Sunday. There we expect rains of .25-.50” and coverage at 50%…skewed to the eastern part of TX and southeast OK. Farther north, only minor precipitation with liquid equivalents of a couple tenths or less – most of that will be light snow. Temps chop around next week with the American model showing warmer, European going colder. Most of next week and the start of the following week will be dry. There can be some significant precipitation around the 17th-18th if the current model solutions hold.
SRW areas will be cold this week, just like everybody else. An active storm track from this weekend through the 20th will keep the southern half of the SRW belt moist. Good rain potential exists this weekend south of the OH river, and again for the 18th-20th. Those two systems combined could bring 1-3 inches of rain south of the OH River.
FSU/Black Sea wheat areas will see some scattered rain and snow showers at midweek this week that will add to snow cover in parts of wheat country. The Southern Region may see more rain and leave more area with out snow cover. A massive arctic outbreak hits around the 12th-15th and will come with good snows along the leading edge. Normal temps and precipitation then expected through the 21st, although the GFS model does try and warm temps significantly around the 18th. There is no support for that solution on other models at this time.
Cold air has been well advertised. However, that does not mean we can ignore it this week. The cold air will peak in cattle country Tuesday and Wednesday as the strong arctic high moves across the plains. Wind will be the worst on Wednesday, averaging 12-25 mph or more across the plains. We have two more arctic highs that will descend on the country over the next week and a half, but the next two do not dive as far south. Northern cattle locations should prepare for temps to not be back above zero again until Thursday afternoon, and then only for a day or two. Southern cattle areas can look for improving weather after Thursday. Ground should remain frozen for a while…although models are trying to bring warmer rains to TX this weekend and again near the 18th. Models also are in bad disagreement over temperature trends in the far extended part of the period. We would skew our bias toward colder for right now.
Bitter cold air the next few days advances well into the Deep South. Hog areas will see the worst cold in the Midwest around midweek this week. Heavy rains will work into southeast hog areas this weekend. We look for half to 1.5” rain totals in the Carolinas over the weekend.
Midwest hog areas will stay cold through the rest of the extended period, but in general, large production areas in the Midwest will be mostly dry. Look for the next major system to be working in around the 18th-20th. In the southeast, after this week temps rebound to near normal…but we should not expect any move to above normal levels for any duration through the coming 2 weeks.