Iowa saw some wild spring weather this week, with rain, snow, sunshine, gusty winds, and temperatures swinging dozens of degrees in a few hours. State climatologist Harry Hillaker says there’s more changeable weather here in the Midwest than almost anywhere else. He explains there’s nothing, no mountains in the way, to stop a blast of very cold arctic air from sweeping down here, and by the same token nothing to stop hot and humid fronts from coming all the way up from the Gulf of Mexico. While Iowa begins early spring with plenty of soil moisture, Hillaker says it’s too early to promise we’ll get enough rain all through the growing season. The timing’s important, he says. Two years ago there was enough rain overall, he says, but a very dry spell in mid to late summer hurt the crop yields in 2003. Those sort of things you can’t foresee ahead of time, like an overall fairly normal weather pattern that includes a period of very dry weather in it, at the wrong time. “You never know,” he sighs, noting we’ve had some years that began very wet and wound up heading toward drought by the time summer came. This week, he says, it looks like a good year for growing Iowa crops…but that’s as far as he’ll go.
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