Friday, August 31, 2012

Isaac rain stalls U.S. crop harvest, some damage done

Sam Nelson in Reuters: Rain and wind from the remnants of Hurricane Isaac are expected to move into the central U.S. Midwest on Friday and into the weekend, stalling crop harvests and causing some localized damage, an agricultural meteorologist said.

Isaac continued to cause headaches, bringing heavy rainfall and the threat of flash flooding to the lower Mississippi Valley as Gulf Coast residents prepared to start their cleanup efforts.

Before Isaac slammed into the U.S. Gulf Coast on Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said 6 percent of the country's corn crop had been harvested and 8 percent of the soybean crop was dropping leaves, ready for harvest.

"Certainly it will slow harvest and some of the corn crop could be hurt. The stalks are fragile and brittle," Don Keeney, meteorologist for MDA EarthSat Weather, said.

Corn plants already had been weakened and yields slashed by the stress from the worst drought in America's heartland in more than 50 years. Much of the crop was pushed to maturity and is set to be harvested as it is more vulnerable than normal to harm from wind and rain.

Keeney said 2 to 4 inches of rain with locally heavier amounts could be expected in a broad swath from eastern Missouri through Illinois, Indiana and into Ohio with winds of 10 to 15 miles per hour (16 to 24 km per hour) and heavier gusts....

Four storms in the tropical Atlantic and Pacific are in various stages of development. Tropical Storm Isaac is slowly weakening over central Louisiana, but is still producing heavy rain, severe weather and high water levels along the northern Gulf coast. Hurricane Ileana is in the eastern Pacific and growing a little stronger, but is headed for cooler waters. Hurricane Kirk has become the fifth hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season and is expected to stay well offshore. Tropical Depression 12 has formed far east of the Lesser Antilles and is forecast to reach hurricane strength in a couple of days. It is still too soon to know what impacts Tropical Depression 12 might have on land. This image was taken by GOES East at 1445Z on August 30, 2012. From NOAA

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