Weather

Short-lived fair weather on the Plains; widespread rain favors the eastern Corn Belt

Across the Corn Belt, a widespread rain event—stretching from Iowa into the Ohio Valley and lower Great Lakes region—is bringing renewed planting delays.  Although dry weather has returned across the far upper Midwest, many fields remain too cool and wet for widespread planting.  U.S. corn planting, 14% complete by May 1, last got off to a slower start in 2013, when only 8% of the crop had been seeded on that date.

On the Plains, cool, dry weather prevails between storm systems.  Some rangeland, pastures, winter grains, and spring-sown crops are benefiting from recent rainfall, but many areas remain critically dry.  More than half (56%) of the U.S. rangeland and pastures were rated in very poor to poor condition on May 1, a 21st century record for this time of year.  In addition, U.S. winter wheat—currently rated 43% very poor to poor—is in the worst shape at this time of year since May 5, 1996, when 48% of the crop fell into those two categories.

In the South, warmth is promoting a rapid pace of crop development.  Tuesday’s high temperatures will again approach 90°F as far north as the Carolinas.  In addition, Southeastern producers have achieved significant planting progress in recent days; U.S. rice planting advanced from 26 to 45% complete during the week ending May 1.  Early Tuesday, showers and thunderstorms associated with a cold front are moving into the mid-South, including the northern Mississippi Delta.

In the West, critical fire-weather conditions persist in Arizona, New Mexico, and southern Colorado.  Northwest of Las Vegas, New Mexico, the Calf Canyon Fire has burned more than 120,000 acres of vegetation and is only about 20% contained.  Meanwhile, cool weather continues in the Northwest, accompanied by a few rain and snow showers.

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