The first half of October in the United States Corn Belt has been a rollercoaster ride of temperatures. After starting the month with trends significantly above normal and feeling more like summer, temperatures dropped sharply by the first weekend. Below-average temperature trends then stuck around into the start of the following week, week ending Oct. 14, before finally returning to more seasonal trends by the end of the week. Seasonal temperatures weren’t the only thing to return by the end of the week, though. Some much-needed rain fell across portions of the Corn Belt late in the week, mainly from South Dakota and Nebraska through Iowa and southern Minnesota, into northern Illinois, and much of Wisconsin. Many received at least an inch of rain, though more localized areas received over two inches.
While the rain may have put harvesting efforts on hold for a day or two, most of these states were already trending ahead of average for harvest pace. While the moisture won’t be enough to eradicate the drought conditions that remain here, it should provide some with at least a one-category improvement. Although portions of the Corn Belt did miss out on the rain this past week, according to data from WeatherTrends360, this was the eighth-wettest second week of October in 30-plus years for the growing region.
The temperature rollercoaster will continue during the third week of the month, week ending Oct. 21. With the exception of the far Upper Midwest, the week will start on a colder than normally noted for much of the Central United States. Warmer trends start to push their way into the Plains by Tuesday and will reach the eastern portions of the Corn Belt by Wednesday or Thursday. More seasonal temperatures will briefly return to the western Corn Belt late in the week, but temperatures look to trend above normal across the growing region throughout the weekend.
Opportunities for meaningful rainfall will be limited, but some light showers are likely mid-week. According to forecasts from WeatherTrends360, this will be the 15th-coldest and 11th-driest third week of October in 30-plus years for the Corn Belt. Although additional rainfall is needed to aid in drought relief, the drier trends will be more conducive for keeping harvest efforts ahead of schedule.