Weekend rainfall less than expected; long-term outlook bleak

Monday, September 3, 2012 | 6:45 p.m. CDT; updated 8:13 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, September 4, 2012

COLUMBIA — The wet weather this past weekend provided much needed drought relief throughout Boone County and was a welcome sight for Columbia residents, especially local farmers. Yet, as has too often been the case in 2012, the rain fell short of expectations.

The National Weather Service forecasts that remnants of Hurricane Isaac would provide anywhere from 3 to 5 inches of rain this past weekend. Instead, the storm produced only 2.45 inches at the Columbia Regional Airport and 2.16 inches at the Sanborn Field Weather Station. Most of the rain fell Friday morning through midday Saturday, according to the National Weather Service.

Meteorologists at the National Weather Service forecast a 40 percent chance of isolated thunderstorms on Tuesday and a 30 percent chance for Wednesday. They indicated thunderstorms are likely on Thursday night and Friday. Still, officials at the Climate Prediction Center were predicting above-average temperatures and below-average rainfall for September.

The long-term drought outlook was even more dismal: The weather service in its drought report on Friday projected the drought will persist or worsen through Nov. 30.

The National Agricultural Statistics Service states that 85 percent of the corn and 78 percent of the soybean yield were rated poor or very poor in Missouri, with some fields suffering a total loss because of the drought.

"Additional rainfall on the order of 6 to 12 inches would likely be needed over the next 30 days or so to eliminate this drought," according to a drought briefing by the National Weather Service.

These figures offer slim hope for this year's remaining harvest. However, according to the MU Department of Agriculture, soybean farmers who planted late enough in the season, could yet benefit from this late rain.

Supervising editor is Scott Swafford.

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