The weather pattern will begin to feature a few changes starting later today. A cold front will sweep into the state late this afternoon and evening, with the best rains coming from just after sundown through midnight. Ahead of the front we will see temps push up into the 70s over most of the state, aided by strong south wind flow. This will also increase chances for instability to take over this evening, and may allow for a few isolated thunderstorms, although the threat is not big. Rains will likely end up in the .2” to .6” range tonight, with coverage at 70-80% of the state. This will provide a bit of a pause in harvest…so we recommend going at it hard and heavy today before the frontal boundary arrives.
Behind the front, look for temps to cool off quickly tomorrow, pushing to below normal levels for a 24-hour period. Sunshine should dominate, but we expect a nice 10-15 degree drop in temps from today’s highs to tomorrow’s. In addition, tomorrow night will likely be the coolest night we have seen so far this season over the state. Temps dipping into the upper 30s over the northern half to third of the state is possible, especially if we clear out. That may be enough to bring some light frost to dips and valleys, and low lying bottom ground. However, this is not a strong frost issue, and we are not going to call this a frost in any way, shape or form…in our opinion, the growing season rolls on. But…it will be chilly.
Temps rally from tomorrow night through the weekend as sunshine continues to dominate Friday and Saturday. WE should be back in the 70s for highs statewide by the weekend and good dry down weather continues. In fact, even after tonight’s rains, we think fieldwork will kick back off quickly given the low humidity values and very dry air we expect. Look for good breezes heading into the finish of the week as well.
Our next weather system is set to arrive overnight Saturday night and Sunday. This front has not looked all that impressive on recent models, but late yesterday started to show some signs of wanting to develop further. The biggest model to ramp up the system was the European, but we want to see if we get any models to build consensus today. What this means is we have a higher likelihood of seeing rains Saturday night and Sunday. Right now, we will keep totals on the small side…under a quarter of an inch, but we are bumping coverage to closer to 70%, with this front looking to sweep farther south and through more of the state. Our concern or bias at this point would be toward higher rain totals…and if there is any consensus on development, we would likely bump the range up to at least half an inch. So, don’t be surprised if we take that step tomorrow (it’s the “theory” we are working with), but we are also not going to go crazy calling rain on just one model’s one run shift.
Either way, we are dry for Monday afternoon and Tuesday of next week. We are still looking at a front or at least weak trough for midweek next week, but that system has gone through some pretty dramatic weakening, and if it continues on the current course, it would likely become a non-event, with only a wind shift and temperature adjustment. For now, we will keep an eye out for a few tenths of moisture, but may also tweak that forecast tomorrow. The current read is for only 2 significant systems in the next 10 days, meaning harvest has no serious hurdles to overcome. We’ll hone in on the moisture threats more in the next 24 hours.
In the extended period, we see a strong front sweeping through for late Friday night the 21st into Saturday the 22nd. This front likely brings up a significant flow of moisture out of the mid and lower Mississippi valley into the state. Rain totals can be from .25”-1”, but the heaviest rains may be skewed over the southern half of the state. The action will be out by Saturday night, and we see a dry finish to the 11-16 day window, and an upper level ridge, or least zonal flow will be in. That will keep temps mostly normal to above normal into the end of the month.
Also, in the extended period, we see the potential for a strong tropical system/hurricane in the gulf around the 27th-30th. This storm, if it continues to develop on its current track, would likely hit the gulf coast around the turn of the month, and make for some significant moisture flows north into the eastern Corn Belt. That will be a significant event to watch.