In July, most of the Corn Belt would have described 2015 as anything but dry. With few exceptions, most states in the region even saw at least above average precipitation over the first seven months of year:
And then the Mother Nature’s spigot slowed to a drip, with drought returning to the nation’s heartland. Over the last two months in particular, abnormal dryness and moderate drought surfaced in nearly all of the Corn Belt.
Though drought levels pale in comparison to the extreme conditions seen along the West Coast, it is a painful reminder that drought is never far away. The latest Drought Monitor report, released on Oct. 29, showed low levels of drought extending throughout the region and beyond:
The Saint Louis (Mo.) Public Radio warns in an article here that the dry spell could impact the winter wheat crop. Currently 26 percent of winter wheat production is growing within an area experiencing drought.
With El Niño impacting the winter weather, what does this mean for the heartland? The Seasonal Drought Outlook indicates drought removal in Kansas with drought developing or persisting in small pockets of North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Michigan, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri Kentucky, Tennessee and Indiana by the end of January 2016.
Forecaster Adam Allgood believes the greatest potential for drought development over the next three months is across the northern tier of the country, which includes the northern Plains and the Great Lakes region. However, with El Niño in the question, the winter forecast could easily change.
Here is a look at what both private and public companies and organizations believe will happen over the next several months, compiled by Kansas City-based KSHB News: