On the Plains, USDA reports a new round of wildfires struck western Oklahoma and portions of neighboring states on Tuesday, as southwesterly winds howled and temperatures locally reached 100°F. “Some incidents were a re-intensification of blazes that had initially begun during the April 12-13 wildfire outbreak,” the department explains. Currently, cooler air is arriving across the southern Plains, but winds have shifted (to the northwest) and continue to blow, according to USDA. Farther north, snow is falling early today across parts of the Dakotas and eastern Nebraska, it adds.
In the Corn Belt, USDA says a storm system is producing a small but heavy band of snow across the upper Midwest. During the three-week period ending April 15, there was less than one day suitable for fieldwork in Minnesota (0.1 day) and North Dakota (0.3 day), according to USDA. “Chilly weather persists throughout the Corn Belt,” USDA adds.
In the West, USDA reports cool, dry weather prevails. “A storm system approaching the Pacific Coast is resulting in an increase in cloudiness, but precipitation remains mostly offshore,” USDA explains.
In the South, USDA says mild, dry weather favors fieldwork in areas where soils are dry enough to support equipment. “However, topsoil moisture was at least one-half surplus on April 15 in Mississippi (58%) and Kentucky (50%),” USDA elaborates. In Kentucky, just 3% of the corn acreage had been planted by April 15, compared to the five-year average of 10%, according to USDA.
Looking ahead, USDA reports a storm system currently crossing the upper Midwest will move eastward, reaching the northern Atlantic Coast by late Thursday. “A mix of rain and snow will accompany the system across the northern U.S.,” USDA details. Meanwhile, it says a larger storm will cross the West and produce heavy snow in the central Rockies before reaching the Plains on Friday. “Late-week precipitation totals across the nation’s mid-section will be variable, but some drought-stricken areas of the central and southern Plains could receive as much as 0.5 to 2.0 inches of rain,” the department elaborates. During the weekend, showers and thunderstorms will erupt across the mid-South and spread into the Southeast, according to USDA. “By early next week, warm, dry weather will overspread much of the West,” it reports.