Drier, progressively milder weather...for now

Drier, progressively milder weather...for now

Across the Corn Belt, dry weather accompanies near- to below-normal temperatures. Midwestern fieldwork, including planting activities, has begun to advance in recent days, although variable field conditions have resulted in uneven progress. By April 22, corn planting had not yet begun in many Midwestern States, including Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin, and the Dakotas.

On the Plains, producers in western Oklahoma and portions of neighboring states continue to monitor the positive impact of recent rainfall on rangeland, pastures, and winter grains, which were severely stressed by winter and early-spring drought, wind, and temperature extremes. Meanwhile, some spring fieldwork is finally getting underway on the northern Plains, where snow has finally melted and soils are slowly warming.

In the South, cool, rainy weather prevails from the Tennessee Valley to the central Gulf Coast. In between storms, Southern producers continue to plant summer crops, including corn, cotton, peanuts, rice, and sorghum.

In the West, warm, dry weather continues to promote crop development and an acceleration of fieldwork. Although Idaho led the nation with 40% of its intended spring wheat acreage planted by April 22, the 5-year average for that date is 64%. Washington’s spring wheat was 39% planted, versus 67% on average.

A series of disturbances will continue to affect portions of the eastern U.S. during the next couple of days, accompanied by scattered showers and below-normal temperatures. Meanwhile, a Pacific storm will cross the Northwest during the weekend and reach the northern Plains early next week. Storm-total precipitation could reach 1 to 2 inches in the Pacific Northwest and the northern Rockies. Precipitation may briefly reach as far south as the southern Rockies, but southern California and the Desert Southwest will remain dry. A surge of warmth will precede the Western storm, with above-normal temperatures overspreading the Midwest and Northeast early next week.

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for the likelihood of above-normal temperatures in northern California and the Northwest, as well as most areas east of a line from Texas to Lake Superior, while cooler-than-normal conditions can be expected from the Southwest to the northern Plains. Meanwhile, below-normal precipitation in the middle and southern Atlantic States, northern California, and the Pacific Northwest, should contrast with wetter-than-normal weather in the Southwest, mid-South, Midwest, and central and southern Plains.

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