Rain, Warm Weather Could Spark U. S. Midwest Flood

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CHICAGO/REUTERS

Rains and warmer weather this week could trigger flooding in portions of the U. S. Midwest grain belt, prompting concerns of delays to field work ahead of seeding the corn and soy crops, a forecaster said March 8.

Farmers in top grain states like Iowa and Illinois normally begin planting their corn and soybean crops in April.

“This is the beginning of flood season. The snow is melting and rain is expected to fall on top it,” said Mike Palmerino, a forecaster at DTN Telvent in Boston.

“The soils are already saturated and they can not absorb much more moisture into the ground,” he said.

Heavy snowfall across much of the United States this winter has raised the risk of springtime floods and planting delays.

The worst flooding in the Midwest in decades in 2008 helped to propel grain prices to record highs that year.

The National Weather Service issued a flood warning for areas along the eastern border of Iowa and the western border of Illinois near the Wapsipinicon and Skunk rivers, tributary rivers of the Mississippi River.

No flooding has occurred yet, but minor to moderate flooding is forecast, the NWS said.

Rains were expected throughout the corn belt throughout the week.

Temperatures were expected to range between 4 to 10C. “Just like the last couple of years, producers are going to struggle to

get field work and planting done,” Palmerino said. Planting in top corn and soybean states like Iowa and Illinois typically does not begin until mid-April, but grain traders are already starting to monitor long-term weather outlooks.

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