In the West, cool air and scattered showers continue to push inland across the Pacific Northwest and the northern Rockies. Elsewhere, warm, dry weather is promoting fieldwork and crop development. Nearly half (45%) of California’s rice was planted during the week ending May 20.

On the Plains, beneficial rain showers are developing in parts of Montana. Elsewhere, warm, dry conditions are increasing concerns about a lack of moisture for winter wheat and summer crops. During the 2-week period ending May 20, the portion of the Kansas wheat crop rated very poor to poor increased from 11 to 22%

In the Corn Belt, dry weather favors soybean planting and crop development, although pockets of unfavorable dryness exist.

In the South, scattered showers are aiding pastures and summer crops. However, dry weather has returned to the lower Mississippi Valley, where drought is developing. During the week ending May 20, the portion of pastures in Arkansas rated in very poor to poor condition increased from 11 to 23%. Meanwhile, Tropical Depression Alberto – a very compact system – is currently centered more than 200 miles south of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and poses no threat to the U.S. mainland.

Outlook: During the next 5 days, generally dry weather will prevail across the southern half of the U.S. from California to the lower Mississippi Valley. Meanwhile, occasional showers will linger in the East, with the heaviest rain (1 to 2 inches) expected in the Mid-Atlantic States. Farther west, a series of disturbances will maintain cool, showery, unsettled conditions from the Northwest to the upper Midwest. Five-day rainfall totals could reach 2 to 4 inches in the upper Midwest. The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for May 27-31 calls for above-normal temperatures from the central and southern Plains to the East Coast, while cooler-than-normal conditions will be confined to the Far West. Meanwhile, below-normal rainfall across the western and south-central U.S. will contrast with wetterthan- normal weather in southern Florida and from the upper Midwest into the Northeast.