Dennis Todey.

While parts of Iowa had record high temperatures in the mid-80s earlier this week, a cold front has cut those highs in half and forecasters say the chilly, unseasonable weather may be sticking around.

Meteorologist Dennis Todey, director of the U.S.D.A.’s Midwest Climate Hub, based in Ames, says there’s no warm-up in sight.
“The main part of this goes into next week where we have sub-freezing temperatures possible into next week,” Todey says. “The downside of this, unfortunately, is that this pattern could stay with us for another couple weeks.”

Todey says there is the potential for some freeze damage and — much like a year ago — a slowing of spring planting for Iowa farmers. “We could still have some repeated cold shots that plants then could be far enough along but if we get freezing temperatures we have an issue,” Todey says, “and if that cold does stay with us, and not give us too much of a warm-up over the next couple weeks, we again will have that same problem with soils not warming up quickly enough and not drying out enough that we can start getting field work done.”

Todey says it doesn’t look like much precipitation is coming with the cold, which will benefit some farmers in the short-term.
“The advantage for row crop people is, you can still do a lot of prep work,” Todey says. “If you can get into the field, you can start getting ready. You just don’t want to be putting out anything except for maybe some small grains would probably be okay to get started on.”

Todey says long-range trends show both temperatures and precipitation staying below-normal for the next month or so.

(By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton)