In the West, warmth continues to expand, most notably across northern California and the Northwest. Today’s high temperatures will again approach or reach 90°F as far north as California’s Sacramento Valley.

On the Plains, chilly conditions persist, especially across the eastern Dakotas and southern portions of the region. Frost advisories are in effect this morning in parts of Kansas and Oklahoma. However, temperatures across the central and southern Plains are not nearly as low as those observed on Wednesday morning, when a severe, late-season freeze further threatened jointing to heading winter wheat.

In the Corn Belt, fieldwork remains at a virtual standstill due to below-normal temperatures and cool, soggy soils. Among the major Midwestern States, corn planting had advanced beyond 1% by April 21 only in Missouri (13% planted, compared to 48% last year and the 5-year average of 29%). Corn planting was 1% complete in Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio; last year, corn in Illinois was 56% planted by April 21.

In the South, frost advisories are in effect this morning from parts of Arkansas and Missouri eastward to the southern Appalachians. However, temperatures are not low enough to pose a significant threat to winter wheat, fruits, and emerged summer crops. Throughout the region, dry weather favors spring fieldwork.

Outlook: During the next several days, a gradual warming trend will accompany a period of relatively tranquil weather. Warmer conditions will induce snow-melt flooding in the north-central U.S., including the Red River Valley. Five-day precipitation totals will be greatest from southern and eastern Texas to the southern Atlantic Coast, where rainfall could reach 1 to 3 inches. During the weekend and early next week, some light precipitation will develop across the Northwest and upper Midwest. Most areas from California to the High Plains will remain dry into next week. The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for April 30 – May 4 calls for near- to above-normal temperatures and precipitation across the majority of the U.S. Cooler-than-normal conditions will be confined to areas from the southeastern Plains to the southern Atlantic Coast, while drier-than-normal weather will be limited to a region stretching from the Pacific Coast to the central High Plains.