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Before I get to Indian summer, some thoughts on drought. One of the things that comes to mind is that it's typically not a topic you think much about with Thanksgiving just around the corner. Yet, there are still places in eastern Iowa that remain in extreme drought. That's concerning since we are entering a time of year where average precipitation is is declining to its lowest levels. Not only that, once frost gets into the soil (and it will) what falls often isn't absorbed into the ground, it just runs off.

This becomes problematic next spring as chances are the current dry conditions are likely to remain in place going into spring. Then it becomes essential for spring rains to be generous or we get into a difficult situation for next years growing season with a drought conditions already in play. As anyone in agriculture knows, you never want to start a growing season off with severe to extreme drought and that prospect is on the table, especially in Iowa.

Here's a closer look at Iowa's drought status as of November 7th. 98.2 percent of the state remains in abnormally dry, moderate, severe, or extreme drought. 53.7 percent of the state is in severe to extreme drought, that is up from 27.24 percent 3 months ago.

Over the past week rains have been sparse and light having no positive impact on the dry soil conditions. Drought remains a significant concern near and west of the Mississippi.

Going forward, rainfall on the EURO the next 8-9 days amounts to little if not nothing. If anything, that increases the chance of the drought slowly but steadily increasing over my counties west of the Mississippi. I think the odds are greater than 66% much of Iowa enters April with drought conditions in place. Not a spot growers want to be in. Below are rainfall totals on the GFS through November 17th.


Definition of Indian Summer, Second Summer

Moving on, I see the potential for another burst of Indian summer weather next week. Here's some of the critical criteria required for this weather phenomenon to occur, according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac.

  1. It’s a period of abnormally warm weather occurring in late autumn between St. Martin’s Day (November 11) and November 20, with generally clear skies, sunny but hazy days, and cool nights.

  2. The time of occurrence is important: It occurs after at least one good killing frost (we've had it) but also before the first snowfall; preferably a substantial period of normally cool weather must precede this warm spell.

  3. As well as being warm, the atmosphere is hazy or smoky, there is little wind, the barometer is standing high, and the nights are clear and chilly.

  4. A moving, cool, shallow polar air mass is converting into a deep, warm, stagnant anticyclone (high pressure) system, which has the effect of causing the haze and large swing in temperature between day and night.

Given above criteria, this weather phenomenon does not occur every year and it occurs more than once some years.

Here's a description of Indian Summer written by Sandy Griswold for the Omaha Sunday World-Herald in November of 1922:

I am enabled to say, however, that the characteristics of the season, when it appears in all its glory, are a mild and genial temperature, gentle southwestern breezes, unusual brightness of the sun, extreme brilliancy of the moon, a clear, blue sky; sometimes half hidden by a veil of gray haze; daybreaks redder than the splotch on the blackbird’s wing, and sunsets laden with golden fleeces, the wooded valleys aglow with the fires of richly tinted leaves, still clinging to the listless limbs, or lying where they have fallen….

Well, if that's the writing on the wall, (and it appears that it is)...sign me up! Just look at the 7 day temperature departures the GFS shows November 16th-November 23rd, the lead up to Thanksgiving. The model is showing readings averaging 20-21 degrees above normal per day (for 7 consecutive days)! That is off the charts.

CPC shows a 6-10 day outlook of high probability warmth centered on the Midwest. In fact, most of the nation east of the Rockies has a very high chance of experiencing above normal readings.

All things considered, our weather looks to be dominated by cool nights, mild days, and dry conditions through at least Thanksgiving. Beat the drumsticks, that's a spectacular forecast! Indian summer, come on down. Roll weather....TS.



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