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Argentina Heat Stresses Summer Crops

By By Jim Andrews, Accuweather.com senior meteorologist
January 11, 2012, 4:50:34 AM EST

Another shot of near-record heat has put valuable summer crops to the test in Argentina's bread basket, the Pampas, where short-term drought has held sway since early December.

Sunday, temperatures soared to 100 degrees F and more in the southwestern Pampas, where the city of Santa Rosa registered 107 degrees. The city's highest temperature on record is 109 degrees (42.8 C), Argentina national weather service (SMN) website shows.

At least one more day of withering heat was in store for the Pampas, as highs of 100 to 105 degrees were forecast Monday for much of the south and west.

Some northern areas were forecast to top 100 degrees Tuesday.

The summer growing season began well, November rainfall being favorable. However, in December, rain all but shut off, and many parts of the Pampas got less than 10 percent of normal rainfall through Jan. 8.

Furthermore, a big heat wave in the days before Christmas brought temperatures to near-record heights in parts of the Pampas.

Timing of the heat, coinciding with recent weeks of sparing rainfall, will be detrimental to the area's summer crops, especially corn, according to AccuWeather.com's agricultural expert, Dale Mohler.

Following Monday's heat, a cold front will head northward over eastern Argentina sparking strong, cooling thunderstorms with needed rain Monday night and Tuesday. However, some northern areas will swelter again Tuesday.

Overall, rain will be enough to benefit most of the region's crop of corn, soybeans and sunflowers. However, storms will also unleash localized severe weather, such as large hail, damaging winds and flooding downpours.

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