Dry weather on the Plains; rain exits the Corn Belt

Across the Corn Belt, scattered showers continue along and east of a line from Michigan to southern Illinois. Meanwhile, cool, dry air is overspreading the western Corn Belt—a region where spring planting activities are nearing completion, except in areas of the far upper Midwest (e.g. eastern North Dakota) dealing with lingering wetness.

On the Plains, cool, dry weather is promoting fieldwork but slowing crop emergence and development. Scattered temperatures below 40° were reported early Friday in the Dakotas. Only 51% of the U.S. spring wheat crop had emerged by May 24, above last year’s 41% on that date but well below the 5-year average of 65%.

In the South, drier air is overspreading areas from the Mississippi Delta westward, aside from lingering showers and thunderstorms across southern Texas. Meanwhile, warm, humid, showery weather in the Southeast is perpetuating fieldwork delays. On May 24, cotton planting was at least 20 percentage points behind the average pace in Missouri (30% planted vs. 78% on average), Tennessee (47 vs. 74%), and North Carolina (46 vs. 66%).

In the West, hot, dry weather prevails. Exceptions include widely scattered Northwestern showers and cooler air starting to arrive in coastal California. A warning for excessive heat remains in effect in the Desert Southwest, where Thursday’s high temperatures reached 120° in Death Valley, California, and 109° in Phoenix, Arizona.

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