USDA: Cool Weather Prevails in the Corn Belt

08:42AM Apr 23, 2014
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Downpours expected for the Plains, Corn Belt and Mississippi Valley late this week.

USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility says in the Corn Belt, cool weather prevails in most areas, although some warmer air is starting to overspread the Missouri Valley. "Frost and freezes were noted early today in much of the Great Lakes region," USDA adds. Fieldwork remains behind schedule, especially across the northern Corn Belt, where soils are too cool for corn planting, according to USDA.

In the West, USDA reports widespread showers stretch from the Pacific Northwest to the northern Rockies. "Cool, mostly dry weather covers the remainder of the West," USDA adds. However, recent warmth has melted more than half of the Sierra Nevada snowpack, leaving the water content of the remaining snow at 4 inches (about one-sixth of average), USDA continues.

On the Plains, USDA explains cooler air is arriving in Montana, but warm, breezy weather prevails farther south and east. "Today’s high temperatures will reach 80°F as far north as southern Nebraska and could exceed 90°F across portions of the drought-stricken southern High Plains," USDA details.

In the South, USDA says dry weather accompanies near-normal temperatures. "Fieldwork, including corn, rice, and sorghum planting is advancing in most areas, although wetness remains a problem in parts of the southern Atlantic States and the eastern Gulf Coast region," USDA explains. On April 20, topsoil moisture was rated 52% surplus in Alabama, along with 47% in Mississippi and 41% in Georgia, USDA elaborates.

In its outlook, USDA says a storm and its attendant cold front will produce showers as it drifts across the Plains, reaching the Northeast and Atlantic Coast States by Friday. "In this system’s wake, heat will return on the Plains, with highs averaging more than 10°F above normal by week’s end," USDA continues. Meanwhile, USDA explains a Pacific storm will move ashore Thursday into Friday, bringing temporary — albeit welcomed — drought relief to portions of California and the Great Basin. "This low will meander across the central U.S. into early next week, producing heavy downpours and locally severe weather from the Plains into the Corn Belt and Mississippi Valley, while markedly cooler air will arrive across the northern and western U.S.," USDA details.