* Heat to break by Sunday, highs in the 80s F next week
* Some rains forecast, mostly in northwestern Midwest
(Adds midday weather forecast)
CHICAGO, July 6 The U.S. Corn Belt endured another day of
excessive heat on Friday that will persist in southern areas on Saturday, but a
cold front should usher in more seasonal temperatures by Sunday, easing stress
on crops, meteorologists said.
"We are going to be excessively hot today, with highs of 100 to 105 degrees
Fahrenheit common from Kansas to Indiana, with some areas up to 108 F (42
Celsius)," said Andy Karst, agricultural meteorologist for World Weather Inc in
"We are going to have a cool-off beginning Sunday. It will be 15 degrees
cooler, so that will definitely help," Karst said.
Temperatures across the Midwest ranged from 99 in Chicago to 102 in St.
Louis to 97 F in Des Moines, Iowa by midday Friday.
Midday weather forecasting models showed a break in the heat over the
weekend, said Joel Widenor, agricultural meteorologist with Commodity Weather
Group. "More moderate temperatures are expected after tomorrow, with highs in
the 80s most of next week," he said.
But the biggest change in the updated models was a even hotter outlook for
the 11- to 15-day period, he added.
Record-setting heat coupled with a lack of rain in most areas has devastated
the U.S. corn crop, which was expected this spring to be a record-breaker. The
scorching weather arrived just as much of the crop was starting pollination, its
key reproductive phase, a time when stress can have the biggest impact on yield.
The outlook for rains remained limited, with Widenor forecasting only 30
percent of the Midwest crop belt would see showers over the next five days. Most
of the rains of up to 1 inch, with locally heavier amounts, will fall in
Minnesota, North Dakota, northeastern Iowa and southern Wisconsin.
Scattered rains in the past 24 hours brought only limited relief to parts of
the belt, and rains in the next 10 days will be limited to northwestern portions
of the Midwest, including the eastern Dakotas and Minnesota, meteorologists
"Rains have gotten going in the Dakotas and are just moving into Minnesota
this morning," said John Dee of Global Weather Monitoring. He said those areas
should see 0.5 to 1.5 inches (1 to 4 cm) of rain in the next 24 hours.
But most of the Midwest will see only 0.2 to 0.6 inch of rain through the
weekend, and about one-third of the Corn Belt could get less than 0.2 inch, Dee
"Unless you are in Minnesota," Dee said, "the rains this weekend are going
to leave most areas still wanting more."
Karst said there would be some opportunities for rain from July 13 to 19.
However, he said, "we probably won't get enough rain to improve soil moisture.
The crops will benefit, but they are not going to be fixed."
The National Weather Service forecast above-normal temperatures and
below-normal rainfall for the six- to 10-day period for the crop area stretching
from Nebraska to Ohio.
(Reporting by Julie Ingwersen and Christine Stebbins; Editing by John Picinich)