Climatologists worry about warm forecast south of Iowa

News, Weather

May 18th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The National Weather Service is predicting Iowa’s early summer temperatures and rainfall will be near normal, but two Iowa-based climatologists say they’re somewhat concerned about the weather impact on Iowa’s crop-growing season. The N-W-S forecast predicts warmer than normal temperatures south of Iowa and Illinois in the extreme southern cornbelt. State Climatologist Harry Hillaker says he doesn’t want to see the warm temperatures seep into Iowa.  “A little bit of concern though, you know the last week oh about a week and a half now has been quite dry across Iowa, and very dry to the southwest of us. Kansas, Oklahoma has turned very dry in the last few weeks. Don’t like to see that area so close by you know to see drought expanding this time of the year because very often it keeps on expanding as time goes on,” according to Hillaker. And Iowa’s May temperatures are already running about six-degrees above normal.

“Which is quite a large departure for this time of the year, historically you look back at years that brought us unusually warm Mays — pretty large percentage of the time its also brought us above normal temperatures for June and July,” Hillaker says.  Iowa State University climatologist, Elwyn Taylor, is also worried about the long-range forecasted above normal temperatures in the southern corn belt. “That’s slightly discouraging.I don’t like to see July and August on the warm side of usual. The plants use more water, they mature faster and so they don’t get as many days in the sun to put on the weight that we harvest and sell.” The long-range forecast is for normal precipitation through June. Hillaker says the La Nina and El Nino influences are subsiding and shouldn’t affect Iowa’s summer weather.

(Dar Danielson/Radio Iowa)