Minnesota crops better off than the nation; NWS completes “Dual Pol” upgrade

85% of Minnesota’s corn crop in “fair-good or excellent” condition

92% of the “small grain” harvest complete (Oats, spring wheat & barley)

17% of small grains harvested last year at this time

50% of Minnesota topsoil rated “short or very short”

50% of Minnesota topsoil rated “adequate or surplus”

“Dual Pol” up and running – Twin Cities NWS completes Dual Polarization upgrade

Minnesota Crops: Island in the drought

It’s a pretty good year for most Minnesota farmers in 2012. And for those that have a decent corn crop to sell, it’s going to be a really good year with record corn prices.

A chunk of northwest and southwest Minnesota is still dealing with drought this year, and that is affecting some Minnesota farmers.

But the majority of Minnesota’s corn and soybean crops are in pretty good condition according to Monday’s Minnesota Crop Report.

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Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service

The latest U.S. Drought Monitor shows 35% of Minnesota in “drought>” You can see how drought conditions have been focuses in northwest, southwest and far southern Minnesota this summer.

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Source: U.S. Drought Monitor

The bigger picture shows how lucky Minnesota has been in 2012.

We started out in drought in the spring, but ample spring rains lifted most of Minnesota from drought conditions, boosted lake levels and produced a bountiful crop.

The rest of the Midwest was not so lucky, and is suffering through the worst conditions since the 1930s in some areas. Withered corn has been plowed under in many areas of the Midwest.

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Source: U.S. Drought Monitor

Much of Minnesota and northern Wisconsin has remained an oasis in the midst of drought in 2012.

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Photo: NOAA courtesy Reid Wolcott

Up and Running: “Dual Pol” upgrade complete

The Twin Cities NWS has completed the upgrade to Dual Polarization at the Chanhassen NWS/Doppler site.

Radar data is flowing again, and the new upgrade should help us with precip intensity and differentiating between different winter precip types this winter.

The Doppler radar upgrade at your National Weather Service Forecast Office is complete. Although minor calibrations will be made in the coming days to ensure optimum accuracy, the upgrade is complete and radar data is now available.

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•Better estimation of total precipitation amounts

•Better estimation of the size distribution of hydrometeors (raindrops, snowflakes, hailstones, drizzle)

•Much improved ability to identify areas of extremely heavy rainfall that are closely linked with flash floods

•Improved detection and mitigation of non-weather related radar echoes (chaff, smoke plumes, ground clutter)

•Easier identification of the melting layer (helpful for identifying snow levels in higher terrain)

•Improved ability to classify precipitation type

The full benefit of dual-pol radar, however, will not be fully realized until NWS forecasters and research meteorologists develop real-time expertise.


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