In the West, very warm weather in California and the Northwest favors a rapid pace of fieldwork and crop development. Cool conditions persist, however, in parts of the Southwest.

On the Plains, cool conditions linger across central and southern portions of the region, accompanied by a few rain showers. Producers across the central and southern High Plains continue to monitor winter wheat for signs of freeze damage from a series of cold mornings, most recently on April 24. Farther north, warmer weather is increasing the snow-melt rate in North Dakota and environs.

In the Corn Belt, dry, slightly warmer weather favors a limited return to planting in a few drier, better drained fields. However, extensive lowland flooding persists in several areas, including the mid-Mississippi Valley. In addition, spring flooding is developing in parts of the far upper Midwest, including the Red River Valley.

In the South, warm, mostly dry weather favors fieldwork. Spring planting has gotten off to a slow start in several regions, especially in the Delta. For example, rice planting was just 7% complete in Mississippi by April 21, compared to 79% at the same time last year and the 5-year average of 48%.

Outlook: During the next several days, much of the nation will continue to experience a warming trend. By Sunday, below-normal temperatures will be confined to the Southeast. However, cool weather will return to the northern Plains and the Northwest early next week. Meanwhile, significant precipitation will be confined to the South. Five-day rainfall totals could reach 1 to 3 inches from southern and eastern Texas to the southern Atlantic Coast. In contrast, mostly dry weather will prevail from California to the High Plains, while periods of light precipitation will affect the nation’s northern tier. The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for May 1-5 calls for abovenormal temperatures across much of the West, while cooler-than-normal conditions will prevail in the nation’s southeastern quadrant. Meanwhile, above-normal precipitation in much of Texas and east of the Mississippi River will contrast with drier-than-normal weather from the Pacific Coast to the northern and central High Plains.