A contrast of soil moisture across the Corn Belt

A contrast of soil moisture across the Corn Belt

Across the Corn Belt, rain is maintaining a slow pace of planting progress in parts of the upper Midwest. In contrast, dryness has begun to develop in the southwestern Corn Belt, where topsoil moisture was rated at least one-quarter very short to short on May 6 in Missouri (27%) and Nebraska (25%).

On the Plains, isolated showers dot Oklahoma and environs. Elsewhere, warm, dry weather continues to promote fieldwork and crop growth. Punishing drought remains entrenched across the southern High Plains, where at least one-half of the winter wheat was rated in very poor to poor condition on May 6 in Oklahoma (68%), Texas (60%), and Kansas (50%).

In the South, rain showers are limited to the region’s northwestern fringe, including parts of Arkansas. Elsewhere, warm, dry weather is nearly ideal for planting activities and early-season crop development. On May 6, overall U.S. planting progress was very close to the normal pace for crops such as rice (68% planted), peanuts (23%), and cotton (20%).

In the West, showers are confined to the Pacific Northwest and the northern Rockies. Slightly cooler air is arriving in the Northwest, but the remainder of the region is experiencing significantly above-normal temperatures. Many rivers emanating from the northern Rockies continue to run high due to melting snow.

An active weather pattern across the northern U.S. will be accompanied by much cooler conditions. Five-day precipitation totals could reach 1 to 2 inches from the northern Rockies into the Northeast, and across southern Florida. The remainder of the southern one-third of the U.S. will experience mostly dry weather through the weekend. Starting on Thursday, cool air will engulf the northern Plains and upper Great Lakes region, with below-normal temperatures expanding to cover much of the North and West during the weekend. Warmth will continue, however, across the South, and above-normal temperatures will return across much of the northern U.S. by early next week.

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for the likelihood of above-normal temperatures nationwide, especially across the eastern half of the U.S. Meanwhile, near- to above-normal rainfall across most of the country should contrast with drier-than-normal weather in the Pacific Northwest and northern New England.


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