A positive change in weather ahead

A positive change in weather ahead

Across the Corn Belt, mild, dry weather in the upper Midwest contrasts with cool, showery conditions in the Ohio Valley. By April 22, corn planting had not begun, and was at least 10 percentage points behind the 5-year average pace, in Iowa and Minnesota. During the 4-week period ending April 22, there were less than 2 days suitable for fieldwork in Minnesota (0.1 day), North Dakota (1.2 days), and South Dakota (1.7 days).

On the Plains, dry weather prevails across drought-affected southern areas, where—despite recent showers— topsoil moisture was rated at least one-half very short to short on April 22 in Texas (67%), Kansas (64%), Colorado (53%), and Oklahoma (53%). Farther north, precipitation stretches from the central High Plains to the Dakotas. Wet snow is falling in a few areas, including northeastern Colorado and the Black Hills.

n the South, rain continues to fall in several areas, including the southern Mid-Atlantic States and eastern sections of Kentucky and Tennessee. On April 22, prior to this storm, topsoil moisture was rated at least one-third surplus in several states, including Mississippi (49%), Tennessee (46%), and Kentucky (39%).

In the West, warm, dry weather favors an acceleration of fieldwork in the Pacific Coast States. In California, neither rice nor cotton planting had begun by April 22; the 5-year averages are 5 and 62%, respectively. Farther east, cold, snowy weather lingers across the central Rockies.

A slow-moving storm will drift northward along the Atlantic Seaboard, reaching New England on Thursday. Additional rainfall associated with the storm could reach 1 to 2 inches in the middle and northern Atlantic States. Meanwhile, a smaller disturbance will trail the initial storm, following a similar path across the Plains, South, and East, and delivering some additional showers. Toward week’s end, cool, showery weather will overspread the Northwest. Elsewhere, warm air will gradually shift eastward from the western U.S., encompassing much of the Plains and the Midwest by the weekend.

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for the likelihood of above-normal temperatures across the Plains, Midwest, and Northeast, while cooler-than-normal conditions can be expected in the lower Southeast and much of the Far West. Meanwhile, near- to above-normal precipitation across most of the country should contrast with drier-than-normal weather in a few areas, including the eastern U.S. and the central and southern High Plains.

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