20 JULY 1800 EDT
We are reaching a turning point in the overall Summer 2011 pattern. There have there been some significant changes over the last few weeks which are increasing the threat for a substantially hotter and drier second half of the Summer 2011 then what my original Summer forecast predicted. But this is more than just my forecast: it also means that the official Summer forecast from the CPC (climate prediction center) as well as most other private forecast services — all of which forecasted a cooler and wet Summer over the Midwest – are also going to be in trouble .
My job as a grain and energy meteorologist is not to continue to insist that my forecast might end up verifying after all …. as if there is some sort of meteorological miracle that MIGHT happen. If I am going to be wrong then my job is to see where I am wrong …figure out what’s happening …and to tell you with the correct or updated forecast. In other words my job is not to blow smoke of my own ASS.
So for the Summer it has been a rather cool Summer for much of the upper Plains and the Midwest. For example Des Moines Iowa through JUNLY 13 has seen 8 days with a Max temperature above 90°… Chicago has had 9 days with a Max temperature above 90….°Indianapolis 11 days… And Lincoln Nebraska 13 days. Given that it is now almost the midpoint of the Summer –July 15 – it is safe to say that so far we have NOT seen a lot of heat and if things don’t change soon this lack of heat is going to cause real problems with respect to GDD.
THE WXRISK 2011 SUMMER FORECAST…. HAS BUDTED or WILL Bust for JULY and AUGUST
This was the KEY premise of my forecast for the Summer of 2011 has to do with SOIL MOSITURE snd excessively wet areas over the Upper Plains and all of Midwest that developed and INCREASE in MARXCH APRIL and MAY 2011.
Essentially my contention was that the large areas of very wet or super saturated ground conditions over the upper Plains and the Midwest was going to restrict or become very resistant to any sort of sustained heat dome or heat ridge pattern developing over the Midwest. This link will take you back to the Summer 2011 forecast… so you may READ it in detail
These next couple of images show the RAINFALL RELATIVE TO NORMAL for the month of MAY and for the month of JUNE 2011. As you can see MAY 2011 as a very wet month across most of the central and upper Plains and the Midwest with large areas seeing anywhere from 200 to 500% above normal rainfall.
The month of JUNE 2011 was not quite as wet but there was still large areas of wet conditions over portions of the Dakotas and the WCB into Central Illinois.
These images supported of my contention that as long as the Summer of 2011 saw saturated or super saturated ground conditions …it was going to be very difficult to get sustained heat into the Upper Plains and the Midwest and therefore we would have GDD problems.
So far so good.
However over the last two weeks there has been a significant change in the pattern which has turned things dramatically drier. During the July 4 weekend we had a short burst of mpressive heat over portions of the Plains and Midwest. It only lasted two with three days but it effectively began to dry out the pattern. This image shows the total rainfall relative to normal over the nation in the last 14 days since June 30. As you can see things are dramatically drier across all of the upper plains and the Midwest with large areas seeing only 25 to 50% of normal rainfall over the last two weeks.
This combined with seasonally warm temperatures has pulled a lot of moisture out of the ground and allow things to dry up. At this point however we have not seen a lot of heat.
That is why this upcoming heat wave or heat interval from July 15/16 to July23/ 24 is going to be so important. Not only will this heat dome bring a lot of impressive heat but more importantly it is going to continue to pull a lot of moisture out of the ground and allow things to dry out even faster. For some of the wet areas in the upper Plains that is a bad thing and they certainly could use the heat. But this heat dome which is coming up for next week has longer term implications.
This up coming Heat Dome means that the soils will continue to dry out and by the time we get to the end of JULY the maps showing rainfall anomalies will be even MORE Below Normal than they are now. This much drier ground over large areas of the Plains and the Midwest will set the stage for August and the potential for more significant heat ridge / Heat domes to come north from the drought areas of the lower Plains into the heart of the Midwest. That is what is really important about this upcoming heat dome. It is going cause a lot of drying and a lot of crop stress AND also set the stage for more potential trouble for the late corn and beans in August over both the eastern and western corn belt areas.