Without a significant risk of frost in the 15-day forecast for almost the entire country east of the Rockies, it is no surprise that producers are finding a way to get out and get moving while it is dry.
There should be some caution for northern states, however. While the forecast remains above freezing, there remains a risk of another cold shot from about May 6 to May 12. Models do not agree on this cold event, which is why the current forecast is not showing this potential, but there is at least some risk across areas north of Interstate 80 for freezing temperatures to occur yet this spring.
Otherwise, the U.S. is enjoying a progressive pattern over the next ten days. This type of pattern allows for systems to traverse the entire central and eastern U.S., bringing widespread precipitation. For most areas, this will be the case. However, it is hard to get precipitation to all places across such a vast area, and indeed there will be spots that see less precipitation. This unfortunately looks to occur over areas that continue to be dry, namely the northern Plains, southwestern Plains, and Texas Panhandle. Rainfall amounts are likely to be less than 0.50 inch in these locations while drought builds. In parts of the Texas Panhandle, it has been over a year and a half — since September 2019 — since the last rainfall totaling more than 1 inch.
For areas in the southeastern Plains through the Midwest, Delta, and Southeast, rainfall is likely to be much more generous. A system that slowly moves through the eastern half of the U.S. this week will produce rainfall of 1 to 2 inches, and there will be more localized heavy rain as thunderstorms develop and occasionally train over the same areas. (From Wikipedia: In meteorology, training denotes repeated areas of rain, typically associated with thunderstorms, that move over the same region in a relatively short period of time.)
Another system may be in store for early next week as well. This storm is not as well predicted by the models, but there remains another good chance for widespread precipitation in the Central Plains and Midwest.
Producers with seed in the ground should see favorable growing conditions outside of that that frost risk late next week and weekend.
John Baranick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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