Source: MDA EarthSat/CropCAST press release

A warmer than normal April has raised questions whether this growing season will be similar to the benchmark warm and dry summer of 1988. MDA EarthSat/CropCAST compared this past April to April 1988 in order to see if there were any similarities.

"Looking at temperature and rainfall patterns across the U.S., there is little similarity between April 2010 and April 1988." said Kyle Tapley, Agricultural Meteorologist for MDA EarthSat/CropCAST. "Above normal temperatures were widespread across the eastern two thirds of the nation this year, while the warmth was strongest in the West in 1988. Dryness was also much more widespread across the Midwest in April 1988 compared to this year."
However, the wet weather last weekend only increased the differences between this year and 1988, and more wet weather is on the way. "In 1988, the warm and dry weather continued across the Northern Plains and Midwest during May, and throughout the summer, dramatically reducing yields for corn and soybeans." said Tapley. "So far, May is off to a wet start, with more rain expected across the Midwest over the next few days. With another storm system expected next week, dryness should not build across the Midwest this month the way it did in May 1988."

Although May is off to a warm start across the eastern half of the country, including most of the Midwest, the warmth is not expected to last. "Cooler weather is expected over the next 10 days, and our latest forecast for May calls for near to below normal temperatures across the Midwest and East, quite different from May 1988."

Looking ahead to summer, MDA EarthSat/CropCAST predicts near normal temperatures across the Midwest for the June through August period. Wetter weather is expected across the southern Midwest, with slightly drier than normal conditions possible across northwestern portions of the Midwest.