May 23, 2024 Climate Outlook

May 23, 2024 5:53 PM

Key Points

  • Standing water due to heavy precipitation over newly planted or emerging seeds may cause issues for some.
  • Despite lots of rain, planting isn’t significantly behind the 5-year average.
  • Flood watches and warnings are in place throughout the state as more chances of rain are possible in the next week.

Past Weather

power outages across the state due to May 21 storms

Power outages across Iowa from storms on 05/21/24. Click image for full size. 

Active weather is starting to sound like a broken record. This week brought another round of severe weather to the state, with 19 reports of tornadoes, more than 20 reports of hail, and more than 100 reports of wind damage across the state from the storms on Tuesday, May 21, 2024. These storms resulted in the loss of life and property damage, and our condolences remain with those effected. Many across the state experienced power outages.

Heavy precipitation from these storms have caused ponding in some fields across the state and continue to limit field workability. In the past 7 days, much of the state received upwards of 200% of normal precipitation. Around 1” of rain per week is expected at this time of year. The drought monitor map today showed relief for much of the state. Drought areas are still hanging on due to significant long-term deficits, but recent springtime precipitation has brought on much needed short-term drought relief. Maybe even too much of a good thing in areas experiencing ponding.

Planting Update

Between May 12 and May 19, NASS crop progress shows a 21% increase in corn acres planted and 22% increase in soybean acres planted. Thankfully, many were able to get seeds in the ground in between storm systems. Unfortunately, some areas may need to be replanted due to standing water. Corn is only 8% behind the 5-year average and soybeans are only 6% behind the 5-year average. Planting is a bit further behind last year, but this is unsurprising given how dry last spring was, the 16th driest spring. We are on track for the 10th wettest May this year. 

Climate Outlook

1-2 inches of rain expected in Iowa in the next 7 days

Click image for full size. 

The Weather Prediction Center quantitative precipitation forecast shows 1-2 inches of rain expected across the state in the next 7 days, as a result of two low pressure systems expected to move through the Midwest. The first is tomorrow, Friday, May 24, and the second is expected on Sunday, May 26. Check out the National Weather Service for more details.

The 6-10 and 8-14 outlooks from the Climate Prediction Center show elevated chances for warm temperatures and slight chances for precipitation. Concerns for water availability are not currently an issue but are something to think about as we progress through the growing season. Sufficient water availability for plants early in the season may cause shallower rooting depths, reducing the plant’s ability to tap into deeper ground water later in the season.

Elevated chance for warm temperatures in the next 8-14 days

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Elevated chance for precipitation in the next 8-14 days

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