Across the Corn Belt, widespread showers and thunderstorms are slowing a previously torrid planting pace, but providing beneficial moisture for emerging summer crops. Midwestern warmth is promoting rapid development of winter wheat and emerged corn. In Illinois, 80% of the winter wheat had headed by April 29, compared to the 5-year average of 6%.
On the Plains, cool weather lingers on Montana’s High Plains, where Thursday morning’s temperatures fell below 32°. Elsewhere, warm, mostly dry weather favors fieldwork and rapid crop growth. One-quarter of the Kansas corn crop had emerged by April 29, compared to the 5-year average of 8%.
In the South, a plume of tropical moisture is generating rain showers from western Florida into Tennessee. Warm, dry weather covers the remainder of the region. Across the lower Southeast, however, drought is adversely affecting some pastures, maturing winter grains, and recently planted summer crops.
In the West, cool weather continues to slow crop emergence and development in California and the Northwest. In addition, a return of showery weather is causing renewed fieldwork delays in the Northwest.
During the next several days, a series of fast-moving disturbances will continue to generate widespread showers and thunderstorms across the northern and eastern U.S. Five-day rainfall totals could reach 2 to 4 inches, with locally higher amounts, across the northern Plains, Midwest, Ohio Valley and interior Southeast. In contrast, mostly dry weather will prevail from California to the southern High Plains.
By week’s end, cool air will expand eastward from California and the Northwest to encompass much of the West. Meanwhile, generally warm weather will continue through the weekend from the Plains to the East Coast.
Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for a turn toward near- to below-normal temperatures across the majority of the U.S., while warmer-than-normal weather will prevail in much of the West and parts of the Southeast. Meanwhile, below-normal precipitation across the northern Plains, Midwest, and much of the West will contrast with wetter-than-normal conditions in northern New England, the central and southern Plains, and the Southeast.