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Hello friends! Terry and Rebecca are taking a few days off here on the the blog so I'm taking over. I'm Meteorologist Nick Stewart, formerly with KGAN/Iowa's News Now and now a spaceflight meteorologist at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. I miss ya' Iowa!

The Florida Space Coast has been active the last few weeks with multiple rocket launches as well as numerous thunderstorms. We even had some impacts from Hurricane Idalia. Above is a long-exposure photograph of a recent SpaceX Starlink launch.

Here's another one of my favorites I've taken in the last month. You can see the rocket streak into the night sky with a thunderstorm in the lower right corner! Helping forecast rocket launches has been a very rewarding workload so far but has left me with a more chaotic sleep schedule than working on TV, which is hard to believe!

Alright, let's get to the forecast. Drought and dryness has been the big theme thus far this summer and early meteorological autumn. Today's drought monitor shows Extreme Drought (red) expanding more across eastern Iowa, and we are now seeing Exceptional Drought conditions in southern Wisconsin and Minnesota. Just brutal!

Dry weather will persist for a few more days, but we are starting to see some signals of more active weather deep into September that could be quite a welcomed sight to drought-stricken areas. Above you can see the 50 members of the European ensemble. Notice towards the right side of the graphic, more oranges and reds are showing up. This correlates approximately to September 22 through September 29.

The mean, or average, precipitation is closing in on 2" by late September. That's a good look!

Above is a look at the 200mb pattern over the US by late September based on the European Ensemble. Broad westerly/southwesterly flow builds in as the subtropical jet comes alive. This has the look of a classic early-autumn rain event for the central United States. I still like what I'm seeing on the overall pattern.

Switching gears to an analog approach, an above-normal precipitation signal is present for the US corn belt. What's important with this is that this is actually initialized off the American GEFS, not the European, which means both the main global models for extended forecasts are hinting at the active pattern.

Staying with the analogs, even two weeks out, there is quite a signal for rainfall amounts topping 1" for the Midwest (as well as for me in Florida!).

To summarize everything - it's looking like a more active second half of September in the central/Midwest United States based on the recent trends in the global models. Most of this activity is more than a week away, so there's some room to change.

As we get closer to the autumn harvest, wet fields will be of concern for farmers trying to get equipment in and crop out, so they will especially need to keep an eye on the forecast going forwards.

Have a rest of the week friends! We'll see you again tomorrow.

-Meteorologist Nick Stewart


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