Weather

Wet weather covers much of the Midwestern Corn Belt, southward

Across the Corn Belt, rain is returning across the Ohio Valley, while cool weather prevails throughout the Midwest. Freezes were reported Tuesday morning in parts of the upper Midwest, including the eastern Dakotas. Tuesday morning’s low temperatures fell to 25° in Mobridge, South Dakota, and Grand Forks, North Dakota. Despite the cool weather, a rapid corn and soybean planting pace continues in areas where soils remain relatively dry. During the week ending May 2, nearly one-half (49%) of the intended corn acreage was planted in Iowa, along with 42% in Minnesota and 36% in Nebraska.

On the Plains, a return to cool weather follows last week’s warmth. Development of winter wheat remains behind the average pace, with just 27% of the nation’s crop headed by May 2, versus the 5-year average of 34%. Early Tuesday, widespread freezes were noted in the Dakotas and portions of neighboring states. Elsewhere, rain lingers this morning across the southeastern Plains, where numerous severe thunderstorms occurred Monday evening.

In the South, showers and thunderstorms are slowing or halting fieldwork across the Tennessee Valley and environs. In fact, much of the region is experiencing warm, humid weather, leading to a rapid crop development pace, although cooler air is starting to overspread the mid-South (e.g. Arkansas). On May 2, prior to the latest round of rain, topsoil moisture was rated at least one-fifth surplus in Arkansas (41%), Louisiana (32%), Kentucky (26%), and Tennessee (23%).

In the West, warm, dry weather favors fieldwork and crop development. In California, rice planting was 40% complete by May 2, compared to the 5-year average of 9%. However, the warmth is also prematurely melting high-elevation snow; the water equivalency of the Sierra Nevada snowpack dropped below 4 inches by May 3—less than 20% of normal.

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