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Forecast calls for weekend frost

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The National Weather Service in Des Moines says “widespread frost and freeze conditions appear increasingly likely for Saturday morning.” Furthermore, meteorologists encourage “anyone with sensitive plants to keep up with the forecast.” A meteorologist shares how he sees this impacting row crops up next.

Ag meteorologist Ryan Martin offers insight into the upcoming freeze forecast.

“We are looking at the axis of the coldest air coming across eastern Minnesota, Wisconsin, east to northeast Iowa, northern Illinois, most of Indiana, and all of Ohio and Michigan,” Martin said. “This is the zone where we’re seeing temperatures at 30 degrees or colder. The coldest air looks like it’s going to hit Michigan and Ohio.”

Cold air moving down from Canada will stick around for several days, according to Martin. He does not see this system threatening corn and soybeans, as the growing point is likely below ground, even where crops have emerged.

“(I’m) focusing on the Great Lakes, Upper Midwest, and the northeastern part of the United States. What I find interesting here is this kind of pattern going through late next week. We start to see temperatures moderate on the 13th, 14th, and 15th, then switch it. We go above normal in the eastern part of the Corn Belt, while the Plains drop and go below normal as we go into the last part of May.”

This weather pattern is not uncommon, “as it relates to where polar air is shifting.” Martin notes “different movements” and “different patterns” trying to emerge at this time.

“It’s not unusual. We’ve seen big swings before,” Martin said. “I think the reason why it’s coming home to roost a little bit more and making more people stand back and scratch their heads is we’ve had pretty decent springs going back the past number of years. We have come out of winter early and been able to hit the ground running on temperatures. Last year, precipitation was a problem, but the temperatures were still okay. This year is the first out of the past five or so that’s shown us the variability you can see in the spring.”