Mild weather allows early-season corn planting

Across the Corn Belt, a few showers and thunderstorms are crossing the Great Lakes States. Elsewhere in the Midwest, very warm weather is promoting rapid winter wheat development and early-season corn planting.

On the Plains, scattered showers and thunderstorms cover the southern half of the region. A few of the thunderstorms are producing gusty winds and large hail. Markedly cooler air is overspreading the central and southern High Plains, but mild, dry weather prevails on the northern Plains. Most of the Plains’ wheat is growing well, although dryness-related issues have left 33% of the Texas crop in very poor to poor condition (on April 1), along with 21% in Colorado and 16% in Montana.

In the South, warm weather is maintaining a rapid pace of crop development. In many cases, planting activities are also quickly advancing. By April 1, for example, producers in Arkansas had planted 26% of their acreage intended for sorghum (vs. the 5-year average of 8%), along with 18% of their rice (vs. the average of 6%). A few showers and thunderstorms are occurring in the lower Mississippi Valley and neighboring areas.

In the West, precipitation is falling across the central and southern Rockies and returning to the Pacific Northwest. Recent precipitation has improved the average water content of the high-elevation Sierra Nevada snow pack to 16 inches, about 55% of the early-April normal.

A slow-moving storm currently centered over the south-central U.S. will drift eastward, reaching the southern Atlantic Coast by week’s end. Storm-total rainfall could reach 1 to 3 inches from the central and southern Plains into the Southeast. Meanwhile, showery weather will continue from the Pacific Northwest to the northern Rockies.

In contrast, little or no precipitation will fall through week’s end in the Southwest and from the northern Plains into the Northeast.

Late in the week, a surge of cool air will briefly encompass the West.

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for near- to above-normal temperatures nationwide, except for cooler-than-normal conditions across Florida’s peninsula. Meanwhile, near- to below-normal precipitation across the majority of the U.S. will contrast with wetter-than-normal weather in the lower and middle Ohio Valley and the interior Southeast.

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