CPC: Improved Soil Moisture Expected for Central Plains and Oklahoma

By: Julianne Johnston

July  17,  2014

VIP Trial 210x125The National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center (CPC) says widespread rains have eased drought over the Plains and the extended weather outlook is favorable for more drought removal across the region. But it expects drought to persist across central Texas. Additionally, drought is expected to persist across much of the West Coast based on climatological dryness, with additional development possible over parts of the Northwest due to forecasts for above-normal temps.

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Regarding El Nino, the CPC says it now appears the predicted event may peak at weak to moderate strength by late fall to early winter, compared to previous expectations that favored moderate strength during the same period. It says during the past few weeks, positive sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies persisted, although weakened slightly, in the eastern equatorial Pacific.

In August, the CPC expects below-normal temps across the Dakotas, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and northern Illinois, while above-normal temps are expected from Texas to the East Coast and along the West Coast. Above-normal precip will aid soil moisture across the Rocky Mountain Region, but equal chances of normal, below- and above-normal precip is forecast along the West Coast and throughout the Plains and Midwest.

CPC Outlooks for August:

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In its outlook for August through October, the CPC expects below-normal temps to expand across the bulk of the Midwest and Northern Plains, with above-normal temps expected along the West Coast, Gulf States Region and the Southeast. Above-normal precip is expected to expand eastward compared to the 30-day outlook across the Rockies, including Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, northern Texas and Missouri. Elsewhere across the Midwest, there are equal chances of normal, below- and above-normal precip.

CPC Outlooks for August-October:

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Bottom line: The forecast for cooler temps across the bulk of the Corn Belt into October, if realized, will raise concerns about crops in the Upper Midwest maximizing yield potential before the normal first frost/freeze date. But the forecast for above-normal precip across the Central Plains and northern half of Texas is favorable for pasture conditions, as well as seeding of the winter wheat crop.