Beth Hall

9 articles by this author

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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…]


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March has been welcoming Indiana like a lion with below-normal temperatures and a combination of above and below normal precipitation (see figure). Snowfall accumulated across the state ranging from less than 1” in the southwest and northwest to as much as 3-4” in the southeast part of Indiana. This precipitation has caused drought to be absent across the state, but monthly and seasonal climate outlooks from the Climate Prediction Center (https://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/) suggest an increasing chance of below normal precipitation over the next few months.  While temperatures will continue to gradually warm throughout spring, there are still significant risks for a late season freeze. The typical date of the last hard (28°F or less) freeze is late March in southern Indiana to late April in northeast Indiana. However, hard freezes have occurred as late as mid-April in the southeast counties into mid-May for northern Indiana. According to the Weather Prediction Center[Read More…]