NOAA Seasonal Outlook – Cooler in the Northern Corn Belt This Summer?

On June 19, the NOAA Climate Prediction Center released their latest monthly and seasonal outlook of temperature and precipitation for the US. One of the factors that will likely come into play this fall and winter is the developing El NiƱo event in the Pacific Ocean. Here is the breakdown of the outlooks. Unshaded areas show an equal chance of above, below, or near-average conditions and are labeled “EC”. Click on any map to enlarge.


There is an increased chance of cooler-than-average conditions in July for eastern Montana and Wyoming, northeast Colorado, western Nebraska, and nearly all of the Dakotas, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. The rest of the Corn Belt is in the “EC” category. At the same time, the Southeast has an increased chance of warmer-than-average conditions.

For precipitation, there is an increased chance of drier-than-average conditions in southern Missouri and Illinois. Meanwhile, there is an increased chance of wetter-than-average conditions in the Rockies and the western portions of the High Plains that could bring some relief to parts of drought-stricken Colorado, Nebraska, and Kansas.



The maps for the 3-month period of July, August, and September are similar to the July maps. Cooler-than-average conditions are expected to prevail from Wyoming, Montana, through the Dakotas, Minnesota, and Wisconsin while the southern US is expected to see warmer-than-average conditions. After the 2014 growing season for corn was delayed by cold soils, especially in the northern states, the increased chance of a cooler-than-average summer in that same region could lead to slower corn growth, later maturity, and increased vulnerability to fall frost.

The region in the West with a greater chance of wetter-than-average conditions expands across the Dakotas and halfway across Nebraska. There is an increased chance of drier-than-average conditions along the Gulf Coast that should have little impact on US corn production.




The NOAA seasonal outlooks are on a 3-month sliding scale. While not shown here, but available on their web site, the northern region with an increased chance of cooler-than-average conditions is somewhat smaller in the August-October outlook and drops out in the September-November outlook.

On the other hand, the region with a higher chance of wetter-than-average conditions greatly expands in the August-October and September-November outlooks. Corn Belt states in the wetter region include Nebraska, Kansas, southwest Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, southwest Indiana, and western Kentucky. It is good news for the southern Plains, where drought has been in place for some time.



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