Keith Good: Rain Wreaks Havoc in Midwest; California Drought Worsens

    Weather Watch

    Reuters news reported on Thursday that, “Heavy rains across the northern U.S. Midwest this week flooded corn and soybean fields, damaging crops, and raised river levels which could slow some grain shipments by barge for the next two weeks.

    “Parts of Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota and Nebraska that received 5 to 10 inches of rain in the past week — the equivalent of about two months of rainfall — are expected to benefit from drier weather next week, said Josh Senechal, agricultural meteorologist for Freese-Notis Weather.”

    The article explained that, “Water has been slow to recede from fields in northwest Iowa, killing corn and soybeans in affected fields, said Joel DeJong, a field agronomist at Iowa State University. Farmers have time to replant soybeans, but corn fields destroyed by the flooding will likely lie fallow this summer, he said.”

    Tom Meersman reported on Thursday at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune Online that, “The intense rain has flooded hundreds of farm fields across southern Minnesota, and growers were calling their insurance agents, checking their crops and watching the skies Thursday as rain continued to drench much of the area.”

    Krissa Welshans reported on Friday at Feedstuffs Online that, “Severe storms have been wreaking havoc in the northern part of the Midwest, leaving both livestock and crop operations in disastrous conditions.”

    On Friday, the Los Angeles Times contained this picture of flooding from Iowa.

    Tim Krohn reported on Saturday at the Mankato (Minn.) Free Press Online that, “Last week’s field flooding was unusual for its breadth.

    “‘The entire region got an excessive amount of rain. I don’t think there’s any areas that were spared. Some had 4-6 inches in one shot so they obviously have a more serious situation,’ said Kent Thiesse, a farm analyst and vice president at MinnStar Bank.

    “Getting a handle on how much crop loss there is will unfold in the coming weeks, depending on how fast water recedes, whether more rain falls and after more detailed surveys can be done.”

    Andrea Gallo reported in today’s Wall Street Journal that, “Parts of the Midwest are expected to get a reprieve early this week from storms that pelted the region during the weekend, but thunderstorms could return midweek, which may trigger more flooding, meteorologists said.

    “Drier weather is predicted for Monday and Tuesday, but thunderstorms could return midweek, which may trigger more flooding.

    “Weekend storms dumped 7 inches of rain on Omaha, Neb., leaving one person dead, according to officials.”

    Philip Bump reported yesterday at The Washington Post Online that, “California’s drought just hit a new milestone: As of this week, 32.98 percent of the state is experiencing ‘exceptional’ drought, making it the worst drought in the 14 years that the Department of Agriculture’s Drought Monitor has tracked data [related graph].”

    An update late last week from the Climate Prediction Center (National Weather Service) stated that, “The seasonal drought outlook [related map] valid from June 17 to September 30, 2014, is based primarily on initial conditions, short-, medium-, and long-range forecasts, and climatology. Persistence is extremely likely along the West Coast and in the Intermountain West (but especially in California) where summer and early fall is a normally dry and warm time of year, and both surface and subsoil moisture nearly always decline. Persistence is also forecast, though with less confidence, from southern Oklahoma southward into southern Texas. Drought is forecast to expand eastward into eastern Texas and western Louisiana by the end of September.”

    On a separate production related issue, Donnelle Eller reported on the front page of yesterday’s Des Moines Register that, “Arkansas farmer Tommy Young says Southern growers have lived through nearly a decade of torment, fighting a destructive, fast-growing weed that can carry a million seeds, grow as tall as an NBA player and is unfazed by several herbicides.

    “Now that weed — Palmer amaranth — is in five Iowa counties on the state’s border, and agronomists are working to determine whether it is herbicide resistant.

    “It has the power to choke the state’s economy and environment — and increase prices for consumers.”

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