Drier for now; a much warmer pattern ahead

Drier for now; a much warmer pattern ahead

Across the Corn Belt, cool, mostly dry weather prevails. A few rain showers are occurring, however, in the lower Great Lakes region and in the southwestern Corn Belt. In many areas, field conditions are still not ideal for planting activities, but slow improvement is occurring.

On the Plains, much-needed rain has returned to portions of Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas, aiding final wildfire containment efforts and providing some limited drought relief for rangeland, pastures, winter grains, and emerging summer crops. Meanwhile, mild, dry weather on the northern Plains favors an increase in fieldwork activities. On April 22, spring wheat planting was 2% complete in South Dakota, compared to the 5-year average of 50%. Spring wheat planting had not yet begun by the 22nd in Montana and North Dakota.

In the South, mostly dry weather between storms favors a limited amount of fieldwork. Despite periodic planting delays, fieldwork is overall nearly on schedule for Southern crops such as rice (49% planted, nationally, on April 22), cotton (9% planted), and peanuts (3% planted).

In the West, warm, dry weather in most areas is promoting crop development and an acceleration of fieldwork. Clouds and cool conditions linger, however, in the southern Rockies. A storm system crossing the nation’s mid-section will follow a similar path to an earlier storm that is currently affecting the Northeast. The trailing system will produce generally light rain—mostly an inch or less—from the southern Plains into the Southeast and along the Atlantic Seaboard. After the trailing storm reaches the Northeast on Friday, the focus for precipitation will return to the Northwest, where weekend rain and snow will accompany a surge of cooler air. Meanwhile, favorably warm weather will overspread the northern Plains and the Midwest.

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for the likelihood of near- to above-normal temperatures nationwide, except for cooler-than-normal conditions in the southern Atlantic region and from the Southwest to the northern High Plains. Meanwhile, near- to above-normal precipitation across most of the western and central U.S. should contrast with drier-than-normal weather in East and the Pacific Northwest.

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