May is starting out much like April ended, with continued cold weather and rain across much of the region. Meteorologist Dennis Todey, director of the U-S-D-A’s Midwest Climate Hub, based in Ames, says the long-range forecast models well into the middle of May don’t show much change for precipitation or temperatures.
“The Northern Plains are not looking really good on either one of those,” Todey says. “In the Week Two time period, we’re likely to have below-average temperatures again, so we’re not making a whole lot of progress on warming up soils and drying things out.” Some parts of the state have had standing water due to flooding for more than a month and some farmers are far behind in their planting due to soggy soil. Todey says the weather pattern simply isn’t shifting much.
“Typically by this point in the spring, we do start getting more storm events, we start getting more warm air moving northward and we are getting some of that,” Todey says. “Unfortunately, it hasn’t moved far enough yet on a more regular basis. We’re still getting these fairly significant cold outbreaks and that has allowed the storm track to be such that we’re going to keep getting continued rainfall.” For areas of the state that still haven’t had the chance to dry out from the spring soakings, Todey says there’s little relief in the immediate forecast.
“It looks like throughout a good part of the Corn Belt area and a chunk of the Northern Plains,” Todey says, “we have above-average chances for precipitation going on well into the middle part of May right now.” Todey expects the effects of the ongoing El Nino pattern to hang around into mid-summer, which could translate into below-normal temperatures and above-normal precipitation.