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Views and opinions: December starts calm, then pivots to heavy rain potential

Southwest has come to dominate during the past few days, and that has led to a nice push to above normal levels in temperatures. This pattern will try to hold through the rest of this week, but will slowly lose the top end of temperatures.


Next week begins to get a lot more active with a powerful storm coming together in the Plains. But, this does mean that we still have an open harvest window over most of the region for several more days.

We are dry at midweek, but we are watching an upper level low gear up to pass by to our north on Nov. 30. This low will keep most precipitation over Wisconsin and Michigan, but can swing a minor front through the rest of the Eastern Corn Belt.

Along that front, we can’t rule out minor precipitation for Nov. 30, although most of it looks to be limited to a few hundredths to three-tenths of an inch. Coverage will be about 80 percent of the region. This front moves through fairly quick.

Behind the front, we are back to drier weather to finish the week and for the weekend. Temperatures will be close to normal, which will about 10 degrees cooler than the start to the week. Upper 40s are likely in most areas for Dec. 1-3.

This isn’t bad, considering we are flipping the calendar into December. Sunshine should dominate through the weekend.

Next week we have some minor precipitation lifting up from the southwest overnight Dec. 4 through Dec. 5. Moisture totals do not look spectacular, and will likely be limited to no more than two-tenths of an inch across 70 percent of the region. This may end up being more of a spit-sprinkle-drizzle event than anything else, and we think it may actually be a precursor to a much more significant system for later in the week.

Scattered waves of moisture continue to move in for Dec. 6, adding another quarter-inch across 40 percent of the region. The big circulation moves out of the Central Plains into the Upper Midwest on Dec. 6, but the cold front moves east through the region Wednesday into Thursday. Currently, we see a strong cluster of thunderstorms next Wednesday night in the mid-Mississippi Valley that should shoot northeast along the cold front for Dec. 7. If this comes together, we could be seeing some half to 1.5-inch rain Dec. 7 over 80 percent of the region.

The map shows cumulative precipitation from midnight Dec. 5 through midnight Dec. 10. This includes the minor rain in the run up to the big Dec. 7 event.

For the rest of the 10-day period, models have very little agreement on a pattern. Our gut feeling is that if the storm for Dec. 7 turns out as strong as we think, we will see a significant cold push coming in behind it, and it will work to stabilize the atmosphere. We look for temperatures to go to below normal levels for a day or two, and we find ourselves under the influence of an upper level trough from Dec. 9-12.

This will allow weak upper level low pressure circulations to rotate through from the Upper Midwest through the Great Lakes, yielding clouds over a large part of the region. We can’t rule out minor precipitation or even a few Great Lakes snowflakes; but in general, we see no significant precipitation impacts.

However, we can say that we probably are seeing or have seen the last of the “well above normal” temperatures for a while, and our weather pattern will move back toward acting like it should – after all, we are moving into December.


Ryan Martin is Chief Meteorologist for Hoosier Ag Today, a licensed Commodity Trader and the Farmer Origination Specialist for Louis Dreyfus Company’s Claypool Indiana Soybean Crush Plant. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and not necessarily those of Farm World.