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Agronomic Crops Network

Ohio State University Extension


Weather Update: Dry Weather Has Returned

Percent of Normal precipitation for September 1 – 25, 2023 compared to normal (1991-2020)


After a rather cool summer and some moisture recovery for many areas in Ohio in July and August, very dry weather has taken over in September. Temperatures have averaged close to normal through the first three weeks of the month (Figure 1 – left), though we have seen a few hot days and cold nights (low 40s last week in spots). Precipitation deficits are running anywhere from 1-4 inches below average, representing less than 25% of normal for much of the state (Figure 1). Several stations, including the Cincinnati, Columbus, Findlay, Cleveland, Akron, and Youngstown areas are experiencing one of their top five driest Septembers on record with less than a week until the end of the month. This has led to rapid crop drying, drying ponds, creeks, and streams, browning lawns, wilting of unirrigated landscape plants, and visible stress to young trees with some early color and leaf loss. As of Thursday, September 21, 2023, over half of the state was described as abnormally dry according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, with deteriorating conditions likely in the next couple of weeks. Though perhaps welcome for an efficient harvest, this dryness poses risks including the need for additional moisture to finish off crops, increased combine and field fires, and potential challenges for cover crop and wheat germination and stand establishment this fall. For more information, check out the State Climate Office and sign up for our monthly and quarterly climate summaries.

Figure 1: (Left) Average temperature departure (degrees Fahrenheit), (Middle) Departure from normal precipitation in inches, and (Right) Percent of Normal precipitation for September 1 – 25, 2023 compared to normal (1991-2020). Figures courtesy of the Midwestern Regional Climate Center.


After a light glance of moisture from Tropical Storm Ophelia over the weekend, attention has turned to a low pressure area moving into the Ohio Valley for Tuesday through Thursday this week. On and off again showers and isolated storms are possible through mid-week, with fair conditions returning for the weekend. Temperatures will remain a bit above average, with highs mainly in the 70s to low 80s this week. The current forecast shows anywhere from less than 1 inch of rain across northeast Ohio to as much as 1.50 inches in south central Ohio. However, the heaviest rainfall is likely to be scattered and isolated, with most areas seeing less than 1 inch of rain over the next 7 days (Figure 2).

Figure 2). Precipitation forecast from the Weather Prediction Center for 8am Monday September 25  – 8am Monday October 2, 2023.

The Climate Prediction Center’s 8-14 Day Outlook and the 16-Day Rainfall Outlook from NOAA/NWS/Ohio River Forecast Center indicate that above average temperatures are likely for Ohio with precipitation leaning toward below average for the period of October 3 – 9, 2023 (Figure 3). For this time of year, the average high-temperature range is 71-75°F, the average low-temperature range is 50-53°F, and the average weekly total precipitation is about 0.70-0.80 inch.

Figure 3) Climate Prediction Center 8-14 Day Outlook valid for October 3 - 9, 2023, for left) temperatures and right) precipitation. Colors represent the probability of below, normal, or above normal conditions.

Crop Observation and Recommendation Network

C.O.R.N. Newsletter is a summary of crop observations, related information, and appropriate recommendations for Ohio crop producers and industry. C.O.R.N. Newsletter is produced by the Ohio State University Extension Agronomy Team, state specialists at The Ohio State University and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC). C.O.R.N. Newsletter questions are directed to Extension and OARDC state specialists and associates at Ohio State.