Most Midwestern fields too wet for early fieldwork

Most Midwestern fields too wet for early fieldwork

Across the Corn Belt, rivers are again on the rise across parts of the Ohio Valley, bringing the return of lowland flooding to some of the same areas that were submerged in late February. On March 25, prior to the latest rainfall, topsoil moisture was rated 30% surplus in Indiana, along with 28% in Ohio and 21% in Illinois.

On the Plains, cool weather prevails in the wake of a departing storm system. Rain showers linger across the southeastern Plains, but core drought areas of the central and southern High Plains did not receive significant precipitation from the storm. On March 25, winter wheat in Texas was rated 63% very poor to poor, along with 54% in Oklahoma and 49% in Kansas.

In the South, heavy rain showers are causing local flooding from eastern Texas into parts of the Tennessee Valley. In contrast, warm, dry weather favors planting activities and other spring fieldwork in the Southeast. By March 25, corn planting was well underway in several states; 63% of the intended corn acreage had been planted in Louisiana, along with 43% in Texas, 28% in Mississippi, and 18% in Arkansas.

In the West, cold weather and a few snow showers linger across the Rockies. Meanwhile, warm, dry weather is arriving across the Far West, including California.

Rain across the nation’s mid-section will gradually shift eastward in conjunction with a slow-moving cold front, reaching the Atlantic Seaboard by Friday. Additional precipitation could total 2 to 4 inches, with locally higher amounts, from eastern Texas into the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys. During the weekend, a storm system traversing the nation’s northern tier will produce rain and snow from the northern Plains into the Northeast. Meanwhile, dry weather will prevail during the next 5 days in the West, except for some light precipitation in the Pacific Northwest and northern and central Rockies. Elsewhere, a surge of very cold air will reach the northern Plains and upper Midwest toward week’s end.

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for the likelihood of below-normal temperatures from the Plains to the middle and northern Atlantic States, while warmer-than-normal weather will prevail west of the Rockies and along and near the Gulf Coast. Meanwhile, near- to above-normal precipitation across most of the country should contrast with drier-than-normal weather in much of California and the Southwest.

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