May Will be Off to a Cold Start
The stormy and cold weather that dominated the month of April is going to continue into the first week to ten days for many areas of the country from the Rockies east. Any big warm up is on hold. Only in the far west and southwest United States will there be anything close to hot conditions for the start of May. There could very well be early May snow in portions of Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri and Kansas.
In many areas of the Rockies, Corn Belt and northern plains folks are wondering if spring is ever going to arrive. All indications suggest that this spring (March/April) is off to the second coldest start since records have been kept (only March/April of 1975 was colder).
Why the cold? You can thank a very strongly negative Arctic Oscillation this spring (lots of cold air on our side of the North Pole) that is sending cold waves out of western Canada and Alaska and into the USA.
The cold spring is really showing up in the soil temperature profiles across many areas. In some locations, temperatures for germination of corn (50F or more) are still too cold. Four inch soil temperatures in many areas of Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and northern areas of Missouri, Illinois, Ohio and Indiana are below 50F. This is a far cry from a year ago when many crops were already in the ground in many areas. At the national level only 4 percent of the summer crop is in the ground compared to 26 percent at the same time a year ago.
With the first week of May colder than normal in many of the key growing areas of the Midwest, we are going to have some very antsy farmers. We will begin to be somewhat concerned about yields in the Corn Belt/Midwest if the cold trend continues deeper into May as an early season freeze this fall could be more and more of a concern.
Also, we will need to keep track of our friends up north. Canada is experiencing one of their coldest springs in a long time as well.
Not only will the cold persist but also heavy precipitation will continue to cause flooding concerns and will keep soil temperatures cool. The 15 day precipitation outlook below shows heavy precipitation in many areas.
There is some hope that some of the very dry areas across southern Colorado, New Mexico and western areas of Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas can get into the act with some decent chances for precipitation over the next two weeks.
In the far west, the heat is on for California, Arizona and some portions of the Pacific Northwest where hot temperatures and mostly dry conditions will persist. In Utah and Nevada, while warm, you have some chances for some rain in the next two weeks.
This spring will certainly be one to remember and we will have to watch trends carefully in the next week or two to see if the current cold pattern will break.