In the West, cooler air is arriving along the Pacific Coast, but warm, dry weather continues across the remainder of the region. In California and the Northwest, previously delayed fieldwork is advancing. By April 22, only 30% of California’s cotton had been planted, compared to the 5-year average of 68%.

On the Plains, record-setting warmth prevails. Later today, high temperatures of 90°F or greater can be expected in much of the High Plains region. Most of the hard red winter wheat crop continues to thrive, although pockets of unfavorable dryness exist on the High Plains.

In the Corn Belt, chilly conditions across the Ohio Valley and the lower Great Lakes region contrast with warm weather west of the Mississippi River. By April 22, at least half of the corn had already been planted in Illinois (59%) and Missouri (50%), while corn emergence had reached 21% in both states.

In the South, cool weather lingers in the wake of a departing storm. Across the lower Southeast, pastures, winter grains, and emerged summer crops are benefiting from recent soil moisture improvements.

Outlook: During the next few days, record-setting warmth will shift from the western and central U.S. into the South. By week’s end, much cooler weather will prevail from the Pacific Coast to the Plains. Generally cool weather will prevail from the Midwest into the Northeast, with late-week freezes expected in portions of the Great Lakes region. Meanwhile, frequent showers will occur during the next 5 days along a wavering frontal boundary stretching from the northern and central Plains into the Ohio Valley and Mid-Atlantic States. Elsewhere, widespread precipitation will accompany cooler weather in the West, while mostly dry weather will prevail from the southern Plains into the Southeast—except for some showers in Florida. The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for April 29 – May 3 calls for near- to above-normal temperatures nationwide, except for cooler-than-normal conditions in the Pacific Northwest. Meanwhile, above-normal precipitation across much of the nation’s mid-section and the Northwest will contrast with drier-than-normal weather in the East and from California into the Southwest.