Rain eases drought

MINNEAPOLIS – Due to recent rainfall, the National Weather Service (NWS) report released Sept. 30 forecast the removal of the drought across southern and central Minnesota, eastern Wisconsin, the Dakotas and Montana.

The NWS and an area weather observer agree on some aspects of fall and winter weather this year and early 2014.

Sleepy Eye weather observer Brad Sellner disagrees with the Farmer’s Almanac forecast for a colder winter for the Upper Midwest, but he agrees with a snowier than average forecast.

“I think we’ll see more extreme weather. It seems like it’s been doing that for years now,” Sellner said. “I hope I’m wrong because ice storms can be very dangerous and hard to get around in, but I think we’ll have more than the average amount of freezing rain events, and a warmer than normal winter.”

Sellner predicted a wetter than average fall that will put more moisture into southern Minnesota topsoil.

The NWS long-term weather forecast made Sept. 19, predicted average temperatures and precipitation east of the Mississippi River and above average temperatures west of the river through March 2014.

The NWS forecasts above average temperatures for Minnesota through October. Above normal precipitation was forecast across south central and south western Minnesota from Oct. 14 to 20. Above average temperatures were predicted for much of the state from Oct. 12 to 16.

Longer-term forecasts were not updated since Sept. 30.

South Central College agriculture instructor Wayne Schoper said the fall harvest is going quite well.

“The crop matured pretty well on time without an early frost,” Schoper said. “Area soybean yields range from the mid 30s to 50 bushels. Corn yields are 160 to 200 bushels. Since we had a very, very dry August, heavier soils will do better than lighter soils. Weather permitting, most of the crop should be in by the end of October.”

Schoper said the 1 1/2 to 3 inches of rain measured in the Sleepy Eye, New Ulm and Nicollet areas in recent days built up the soil moisture profile that is very critical for next year’s crops.

Due to the federal government shutdown, NOAA.gov and most associated web site updates are unavailable. Specific NOAA web sites necessary to protect lives and property are operational and will be maintained.

Visit Weather.gov and cpc.necp.noaa.gov/ for critical weather information.

(Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at fbusch@nujournal.com).

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