Beth Hall

11 articles by this author

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Meteorological winter (December-February) is finally over and we can start looking forward to spring.  Across Indiana, winter brought above average precipitation (Figure 1), though below average snowfall.  The temperatures were slightly above normal (2°F-6°F; Figure 2) with no record-breaking cold periods.  Since there were so few colder-than-normal periods, the overwintering of pests and therefore increased pest populations will be a concern for this 2020 growing season. Forecasts for the next several weeks are showing high confidence for above-normal precipitation and temperature.  This pattern is currently projected to continue throughout the March through May 3-month period, and there is strong consensus across the climate community that the rain will not be as impactful as it was in 2019. Computer models are providing guidance that around 2 inches more than average are likely in southern Indiana decreasing to only one-half inch more than average in the northern counties. The 1981-2010 climate normal[Read More…]


The 2019/2020 winter has not been very white so far, and as we move further into February, it is not looking like any snowfall records will be broken. Starting October 1, 2019, most of the state is 50-75 percent of normal through February 18, 2020. This translates to as much as 10 inches of snow behind average! The 1981-2010 normal snowfall amount for the rest of this season (i.e., February 18th through April 16th) ranges from 2 inches in southern Indiana up to 10 inches in northern Indiana. Unless some major snow events occur over the next several weeks, this winter season will be one of the least snowy. That does not mean Indiana is in a drought, however! The precipitation has been falling – just not the frozen kind. Since October 1, 2019, Indiana has received above normal liquid precipitation ranging from a few inches above normal in the[Read More…]


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The initial cool wave of September is likely over as we welcome warmer temperatures for the next several weeks. The Climate Prediction Center is showing strong confidence for above-normal temperatures through September 24rd, which should help accumulate growing degree days and move agricultural production further along (Figure 1). Outlooks are showing significant probabilities for above-normal precipitation over the next few weeks, but it is uncertain how much and when that precipitation will occur. The 3-month (September-November) climate outlook is indicating significant probabilities for above-normal temperatures (Figure 2). This will hopefully discourage any cold waves passing through from causing an earlier-than-desired hard freeze event. However, keep in mind that predictions are still too far in the future to provide any certainty and climate outlooks are unable to account for a brief (1-to-3-day) event from passing through with temperatures low enough to cause a frost. Primary message: still too soon to predict[Read More…]


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The big story this week was the much-needed rain throughout most of Indiana that fell on Monday (August 19th). Since August 15th, this brought up to 5” of precipitation throughout west-central, southwest, and northwest Indiana (Figure 1). This was 2”-4” above normal for the past 2 weeks (Figure 2)! However, as we transition into September and hope temperatures stay warm to accelerate plant growth and catch up from a late-planting spring, climate outlooks are predicting higher probabilities for below-normal temperatures. Precipitation amounts are predicted to be neither above- or below normal for the first week of September, but should shift to higher probabilities of above-normal precipitation by the second week. Abnormally dry conditions continue throughout the state, but have not intensified. Where there was less rain earlier this week, relative soil moisture within the 10-40 cm depth remains below normal (Figure 3).


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Even the climate models are confused by this year’s weather.  When the August monthly outlook was released (July 31st; national Climate Prediction Center) it showed significant confidence that August would have below-normal temperatures and below-normal precipitation.  However, the shorter-range outlooks (that update daily) the last few days, seem to contradict that prediction.    Whether it is the 6-10-day (August 20-24), the 8-14-day (August 22-28; Figures 1 & 2) or the 3-4-week experimental outlooks (August 25 – September 7), all are predicting significant confidence for above-normal temperatures and precipitation. Given the recent development of drought conditions across the state, these climate predictions (particularly for precipitation) are strongly desired! Will those climate outlooks verify? The current 7-day quantitative precipitation forecast is indicating very little precipitation over the next seven days. That is slightly below normal for this time of the year in Indiana (Figure 3 & 4).  It is a roller coaster ride,[Read More…]


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While the remnants of Hurricane Barry brought some much-needed precipitation to the state, the next few weeks look to be on the dry side. Temperatures are also expected to be warmer than normal, so heat stress may become an issue for plants and animals. The Midwestern Regional Climate Center’s (MRCC) Vegetation Impact Program (VIP) provides a modified stress degree-day (mSDD) tool (https://mrcc.illinois.edu/VIP/indexSDD.html) for corn plants that accumulates degree-day units when temperatures exceed 86°F. Modified SDD departures indicate most of Indiana to be near normal (Figure 1), however, excessive heat is in the forecast so mSDDs are expected to accumulate quickly. Drought-like conditions are developing, particularly in northern Indiana. While the excessive spring and early-summer rains saturated soils, the sudden dryness is causing some stress where plant roots were not able to deeply establish. These changing weather conditions could leave plants more susceptible to external stresses from pests and diseases. Fun[Read More…]


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When I was very young, I remember my father talking about “knee high by the Fourth of July”.  As I got older I thought that expression was so strange for it seemed the corn was usually “man high” by the Fourth of July. Obviously, the excessive rains and cooler temperatures have had an impact this year! While the above-normal precipitation from April and May may have tempered in June, Indiana is still getting “normal” amounts of rain on relatively saturated soils (Figure 1). In fact, preliminary data from June suggests that most of Indiana was near normal for precipitation with the southern third well above normal. Average temperatures in June were also near normal to a few degrees below normal. How will July end up? If it matches the climatological “normal” July, then average daily temperatures would be 70°F-75°F across the northern part of the state and above 75°F in[Read More…]


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Some weeks I wonder if I could just re-use the previous week’s weather and climate article! The story seems to be the same: It’s been wet and more rain is expected. It is impressive, however, astounded when to see the contrast in June precipitation (so far) for precipitation across the state (Figure 1).  It seems plenty wet in northern Indiana, I can’t even imagine how wet it must be to the south! Unfortunately, the forecast predicts Indiana will continue to be wet. The 7-day Quantitative Precipitation Forecast (QPF) is predicting 3”-5” across most all of the state (Figure 2). Beyond that, the 6-14-day outlook (Jun 24 to Jul 2) is indicating a medium-to-high probability of above normal precipitation.  Even the 3-4-week outlook (Jun 29 – Jul 12) shows a significant probability of above normal precipitation (at least for the northern two-thirds of the state).  The hope will be that all[Read More…]


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The biggest topic seems to be how wet it is and how much more rain Indiana can expect. So far, May has experienced near-normal precipitation throughout the central part of the state with 0.5”-2” in southern and northern regions (Figure 1).  Combining this with April’s precipitation, however, means the soil moisture is still 60mm to over 80mm above average (Figure 2), causing saturated soils and the propensity for flooding anytime precipitation occurs. Speaking of which, 0.25”-1.5” of additional precipitation is expected over the next 7 days with the lower amounts favoring the northwestern part of the state.  Could there be drying beyond that? The climate outlook for May 16-22 is indicating slight probabilities for below-normal precipitation in the northern counties, but the rest of the state is statistically uncertain to predict above- or below-normal precipitation with confidence. However, keep in mind that normal precipitation (based upon 1981-2010 data) during that[Read More…]


The rain seems to keep falling, barely providing time for things to dry out and start planting!  The last few weeks has experienced up to 2” above normal precipitation – particularly for west-central and southern Indiana, which is near the 125th-125th percentile. Warm days seem to be relatively few and far between, causing a slow start to growing degree-day (GDD) accumulations. While it is still early in the season, Indiana has only accumulated about 30-60 GDD units, with the few amounts to the north. Hard freezes (<= 28°F are still in recent memory, with the most recent hard freeze occurring just last week (April 1-3).  For April 8-16, precipitation forecasts are predicting 1.5”-2.5” of rain, with the higher amounts expected in the southern half of the state. There is still a 25-50% chance of a 32°F freeze occurring in southern counties and over a 90% chance of a freeze occurring[Read More…]