Welcome rains across parts of the Heartland
Across the Corn Belt, showers in the vicinity of a cold front stretch from the Great Lakes region into the mid-Mississippi Valley. The rain is temporarily slowing fieldwork but promoting corn and soybean emergence and early-season growth. By May 23, nearly two-thirds (64%) of the U.S. corn and 41% of the soybeans had emerged. Warm weather prevails across the Ohio Valley in advance of the cold front, while cool air is overspreading the upper Midwest.
On the Plains, chilly weather (highs mostly below 60°) in Montana and North Dakota contrasts with warm weather across the southern half of the region. Another round of rain is overspreading Montana, further benefiting winter wheat and spring-sown crops. However, despite the precipitation, at least one-half of the rangeland and pastures were rated in very poor to poor condition on May 23 in North Dakota (71%) and Montana (50%). On the central and southern Plains, dry weather is promoting crop development and fieldwork, including corn, cotton, sorghum, and soybean planting.
In the South, hot, dry weather is quickly reducing topsoil moisture availability in the southern Atlantic States. During the week ending May 23, topsoil moisture rated very short to short increased at least 25 percentage points in all Atlantic Coast States from Virginia to Florida. In addition, Wednesday’s temperatures could approach 100° in parts of the Carolinas. Meanwhile, showers dot the mid-South, while lowland flooding lingers in some coastal areas of Texas and Louisiana.
In the West, the latest in a series of disturbances is producing widespread cloudiness but minimal precipitation. However, there are a few showers crossing the northern Rockies. On May 23, topsoil moisture was rated at least two-thirds very short to short in New Mexico (82%), Washington (76%), Oregon (74%), Utah (72%), and California (70%).