Emerging Issue: Hot and Dry Finish to August

Heat wave sunrise on wheat farm
In addition to intense heat, the next decent chance of rain for the main corn-soybean producing sections of the state is likely 10-14 days out.

Emerging Issue: Hot and Dry Finish to August

A Change is on the Way

With the exception of a five-day period in late July, most of the last six weeks in Nebraska and the north-central U.S. in general has been mild (in contrast to the globe). But it looks like Mother Nature is going to make sure we have a chance to experience the "fun" too, by giving us a shot of heat. The question right now isn't whether our sensible weather will be dominated by a ridge but for how long. Some recent model runs have been placing our area on the western periphery of a 6000 meter 500 mb ridge center early next week.

Meteorology to English translation: It's going to be sunny and very hot.

The good news, or what could be perceived as good news, is that it looks like the ridge currently looks to only maintain significant strength in our area for three to four days before weakening and retreating southwest. Look for this coming Saturday to next Monday-Tuesday being the hottest days, particularly in eastern Nebraska. After that temperatures should back down from way above average to just above average. Regardless, most of the state, save for maybe the Panhandle, could be looking at seven to 10 days in a row with temperatures at or above 90°F. We also could flirt with 100°F at times along and south of I-80.

We are getting past the point of peak ET, so the extra misery from the corn will be less than it was in late July. Nevertheless, it will still be relatively humid Grand Island east and heat advisories are likely next weekend and early next week for most of our region of the country.

The more concerning part of the ridge building in is that most of the state will be bone dry for at least the next seven to 10 days. The exception could be parts of the Panhandle and far north-central Nebraska, where there may be some chance for storms early next week. But for the main corn-soybean producing sections of the state, the next decent chance of rain is likely 10-14 days out. It's possible some places have had their last meaningful precipitation this month, though I do not say that with any degree of confidence.

The bottom line is that we are going to be entering a period of above-average temperatures with meager to no precipitation. This undoubtedly will have an impact on rainfed crops that are already stressed or are borderline stressed. I'd recommend irrigated farmers do some inspecting in fields to see how far into the dent stage your corn is and how soybean pod development is coming along and plan irrigation treatments accordingly.

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A field of corn.