Today's Ag Weather

Hot weather that has been affecting much of the central U.S. will retreat southward.

Today's Ag Weather

In the West, several large, early-season wildfires—including the 204,000-acre Calf Canyon Fire near Las Vegas, New Mexico—continue to burn in the southern Rockies, where hot, windy, dry conditions linger. Cool weather covers the remainder of the region, including California, the Great Basin, and the Northwest. Frost advisories and freeze warnings are in effect early today across parts of the interior Northwest and areas near the northern Pacific Coast.

On the Plains, lingering cool conditions are generally confined to Montana and the Dakotas. Hot weather dominates the central and southern Plains, with today’s high temperatures expected to reach 90°F or higher in most areas from Nebraska southward. Although overnight thunderstorms provided limited drought relief on the southern High Plains, complications included large hail (at least 1 to 2 inches in diameter), high winds, and ineffective absorption of localized downpours into parched soils.

In the Corn Belt, an early-season hot spell is nearing its peak, as today’s high temperatures should reach 90°F or higher across much of Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, and Missouri. The sudden warmth has resulted in an acceleration of corn and soybean planting, except in areas where fieldwork is still limited by excessive wetness. Several days ago, on May 8, topsoil moisture was rated 60% surplus in Ohio, along with 50% in Illinois and 46% in Indiana.

In the South, cool, breezy weather along the southern Atlantic Coast contrasts with hot conditions west of the Appalachians. Dry weather throughout the region favors planting of crops such as corn, cotton, peanuts, rice, and soybeans.

Outlook: Hot weather that has been affecting much of the central U.S. will retreat southward. However, during the weekend and early next week, Southern heat will expand and intensify, stretching from the Desert Southwest to the southern Atlantic Coast. Triple-digit heat (high temperatures of 100°F or greater) will develop in the Desert Southwest and return by Sunday and Monday across parts of Texas and eastern New Mexico. Mostly dry weather will accompany the heat, with little or no rain expected during the next 5 days from California to Texas. In contrast, generally cool weather and periodic showers will stretch from the Pacific Northwest into the upper Midwest. Elsewhere, a low-pressure system over the western Atlantic Ocean will drift southwestward, with late-week showers and breezy conditions expected in the southern Atlantic States.

The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for May 16 – 20 calls for the likelihood of near- or above-normal temperatures and near- or below-normal rainfall across most of the country. Cooler-than-normal conditions will be confined to the Great Lakes region and the Pacific Northwest, while wetter-than-normal weather should be limited to portions of the Pacific Northwest and northern Plains.

Contact: Brad Rippey, Agricultural Meteorologist, USDA/OCE/WAOB, Washington, D.C. (202-720-2397) Web Site: