Cool, damp weather across the Heartland
Across the Corn Belt, freezes were noted early Friday in parts of North Dakota and northern sections of Minnesota and Wisconsin. In eastern North Dakota, Friday morning’s low temperatures dipped to 29° in Grand Forks and 31° in Fargo. Meanwhile, a chilly rain is falling across much of the eastern Corn Belt. Friday’s high temperatures will remain below 60° in a large Midwestern area stretching from Iowa to Michigan. The rain and below-normal temperatures are slowing fieldwork and crop development—but boosting moisture supplies for corn and soybeans.
On the Plains, cool, mostly dry weather prevails in the wake of a departing storm system. However, a few thunderstorms linger across the southern Plains, while cloudiness associated with a new Pacific cold front is overspreading Montana. Current weather conditions favor fieldwork, including planting activities, except in areas where recent rains have resulted in soggy soils. On May 23, topsoil moisture rated surplus ranged from 16 to 26% in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas.
In the South, hot, dry weather in the southern Atlantic region is reducing topsoil moisture and increasing stress on pastures and summer crops. On May 27, Wilmington, North Carolina, reported a daily-record high of 98°. Farther west, however, showers and thunderstorms are returning across the Mississippi Delta and environs. On May 23, Louisiana led the nation with topsoil moisture rated 58% surplus. On the same date, Louisiana was furthest behind schedule among major production states in planting progress for cotton (50% vs. 85%, on average) and soybeans (58% vs. 85%).
In the West, cool weather lingers from the Pacific Northwest to the northern Rockies, while building heat in California and the Southwest is aggravating drought impacts. With high-elevation snow mostly melted and runoff being absorbed by parched soils, many Southwestern reservoirs are not being adequately recharged, leaving limited reserves for irrigation.