Weather report: Record-setting warmth persists on the Plains

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In the West, precipitation is confined to the northern tier of the region, where cool, showery weather is slowing fieldwork and crop development. In contrast, dry weather accompanies record-setting warmth from California to the Four Corners States.

On the Plains, record-setting warmth persists across the southern half of the region, where today’s high temperatures will again approach, reach, or exceed 90°F. On the central and southern High Plains, drought and weather extremes continue to take a toll on rangeland, pastures, and winter wheat. Farther north, cooler weather is returning to the northern Plains, following a brief warm spell that melted any remaining snow.

In the Corn Belt, unsettled weather and damp soils continue to prevent most fieldwork operations. Currently, rain has ended across the Ohio Valley, but another band of showers has developed from Upper Michigan to Nebraska. However, some of the warmest weather of the year has arrived in the Midwest, helping to gradually raise soil temperatures.

In the South, a band of rain showers extends southwestward from the southern Mid-Atlantic States. Currently, some of the heaviest rain is falling in the eastern Carolinas. Meanwhile, dry weather has returned to the interior Southeast (e.g. Kentucky and Tennessee), where locally heavy rain fell on Sunday.

Outlook: A surge of cold air will overspread the northern Plains and Northwest by Tuesday, and the Plains and upper Midwest by mid-week. On May 2-3, additional, late-season freezes can be expected on the central and southern High Plains. Farther east, warmth will linger for much of the week from the eastern Corn Belt to interior New England. Five-day rainfall totals could reach 1 to 3 inches along the middle and southern Atlantic Coast and from the east-central Plains into the upper Midwest, while dry weather will prevail from California into the Southwest. The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for May 4-8 calls for below-normal precipitation in New England and across the western and central U.S., while wetter-than-normal weather will prevail from the Mississippi River to the middle and southern Atlantic States. Meanwhile, cooler-than-normal conditions across the central and southeastern U.S. will contrast with above-normal temperatures in the West and from the Great Lakes region into New England.

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