Winter Wheat Rainfall Outlook

Here is the amount of precipitation needed to break the drought (in addition to the "normal" rainfall) as of Sunday:

As mentioned in the last update, with the exception of the Florida Peninsula, the drought has ended east of the Mississippi River.

That said, more rain is needed in the western corn belt and winter wheat belt. Here is the National Weather Service's outlook for the next seven days. Not much is forecast for the corn belt, but helpful rains are predicted for parts of Arkansas, Oklahoma and Kansas.

To do some educated speculation over the next month and a half, here are the normal amounts of rainfall from now until April 30th for key winter wheat belt weather stations:
  • Salina, 3.53 inches
  • Wichita, 3.89 inches
  • Oklahoma City, 4.33 inches
  • Wichita Falls, 3.46 inches
The experimental U.S. precipitation model from now until April 30 has been rather persistent in forecasting the end of the drought over most of Kansas. The amounts for the winter wheat belt are below the graphic. Any lingering drought will end in Arkansas if this is a perfect forecast. 
WeatherBell models. Click to enlarge. 
Winter Wheat

For example, approximately seven inches of rain is forecast to fall in Wichita. The normal is 3.89 inches, let's call it 4 inches. So, three inches more than normal is forecast to fall. Since the NWS states that three inches (more than normal) is needed to end the drought, we would have caught up by the end of April if this turns out to be a perfect forecast. 

In Oklahoma, the wheat growing area around Enid-Ponca City-Woodward is in reasonably good shape. Father south in Oklahoma and northwest Texas, this is enough moisture to keep the drought from worsening but it will not break, again assuming this is a perfect forecast. 

Corn Belt

With regard to the corn belt, the six to eight inches in southeast Nebraska, northwest Missouri and southern Iowa will be helpful at getting the newly planted crop off to a good start. 


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