Weekend Wheat Winterkill Worries?

December 16, 2016 06:36 PM
winter wheat

It’s going to be c-c-c-cold in the Plains and Midwest this weekend. Kait Parker, meteorologist with The Weather Channel, has already been tracking dangerous wind chills as of Thursday, with more expected on the way.

“It’s not going to be a little bit of cold – it’s going to be a lot of cold,” she quips, pointing out -35 ˚F wind chills in Minot, N.D., expected early Saturday as just one example.

Sunday will feel especially brisk in the Plains and upper Midwest, with The Weather Channel predicting a -10 ˚F high in Minneapolis, -2 ˚F in Chicago and 10 ˚F in Kansas City. According to Don Keeney, senior agricultural meteorologist for MDA Weather Services, some snow will proceed this cold blast. That’s good for the winter wheat crop, which could really use the added insulation.

Still, some areas could see only light accumulations, and that could lead to some winterkill for wheat, Keeney says.

“The areas of greatest concern for damage appear to be in northern Kansas, southern Nebraska, northern Missouri, southern Iowa and far west-central Illinois,” he says. “Temperatures in these areas will likely drop well below 0 ˚F on Sunday and Monday mornings, and given the expected thin snow cover, some winterkill losses will be possible.”

After that, temperatures will moderate and end any immediate winterkill threats in those areas, Keeney says.

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