2020 Weather Outlook

Jan 31, 2020  | 2 min  | Ep4524

January’s winter weather events have left much of the Corn Belt under a blanket of snow. The depth varies in the Upper Midwest. The heavier amounts are in the eastern Dakotas, Minnesota and parts of Wisconsin.

The current precipitation added to late year’s rains which left few dry places as revealed in the most recent University of Nebraska Drought Monitor.

The autumn rain complicated harvest of corn and soybeans in the Grain Belt even prompting the National Agricultural Statistics Service to announce it will re-connect with growers in several states to help finalize acres harvested because so many fields were left untouched in 2019.

The green area indicates wettest records for the region in 2019, while the red notes the warmest are where records occurred based on NOAA weather data. 

But what’s in store for 2020.

Elwynn Taylor, Iowa State University Climatologist Emeritus: “We really don't know what's happening but we do know that El Nino is our friend. And at the moment there's a weak El Nino going on. It doesn't matter. El Nino is El Nino. It has to do with weather conditions just off at the equator, just off of the west coast of South America.”

El Nino usually leads to wetter-than-average precipitation in the Corn Belt. If the adage “rain makes grain” is to be believed….

Elwynn Taylor, Iowa State University Climatologist Emeritus: “But we always feel better if the tiles are running before the season starts that means that we have all the water plants can use a little bit of excess in the soil. And that's, that's considered good news. At least for people that need tiles on have them. It's not good news for people that should have tiles and don't.”

For Market to Market, I’m Paul Yeager.

Contact: Paul.Yeager@iowapbs.org

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