Showers, summer-like warmth across much of the Heartland
Across the Corn Belt, rain showers extend northward from Missouri into the upper Great Lakes region, slowing fieldwork but generally benefiting recently planted corn and soybeans. Meanwhile, warm, dry weather across the eastern Corn Belt is promoting planting activities, as well as corn and soybean germination and early-season growth.
On the Plains, cold air—accompanied by drought-easing rain and snow showers—continues to settle across Montana and portions of neighboring states. Friday morning’s low temperatures fell to 25° or below across the central one-third of Montana. Elsewhere, rain showers are providing localized drought relief in the Dakotas, while warm, dry weather favors fieldwork and crop development on the central and southern Plains.
In the South, moderate to locally major flooding continues along several rivers in the western half of the Gulf Coast region, primarily across eastern Texas and southern Louisiana. For example, the lower portion of the Neches River in eastern Texas has climbed to its highest level since the Hurricane Harvey-induced flood of 2017. Currently, locally heavy showers continue in that portion of the Gulf Coast region, where Lake Charles, Louisiana, reported 16.73 inches of rain from May 17-20. In stark contrast, warm, dry weather is further reducing Southeastern topsoil moisture reserves.
In the West, a slow-moving storm system over the Intermountain region is resulting in cool conditions and scattered rain and snow showers. The showers are providing a slight boost in topsoil moisture and are highly beneficial for rain-fed crops and drought-affected rangeland and pastures; however, Western drought remains deeply entrenched. According to the May 18 U.S. Drought Monitor, extreme to exceptional drought (D3 to D4) covers 53% of the 11-state Western region.