Temps, moisture delaying early planting
Yesterday's max temperatures departures from normal reflected how unseasonably cold it is for so late in the season with temperature departures -20 to -25 degrees below normal across the northern plains and central cornbelt states as far south as St Louis, Mo.
In Ames, Ia, only four other years were as cold as yesterday on the first day of Spring, the most recent year being 1965. Similarly in Chicago, the High of 25 degrees was the coldest daytime temperature for the month of March, 2013, and 23 degrees below the normal of 48 degrees F.
The unseasonably cold weather pattern across the eastern US is partly driven by a blocking pattern in upper atmosphere over the Arctic. The so-called Greenland block is forecast to continue thru the end of March into early April most likely keeping a large part of the eastern U.S. in a colder than normal temperature pattern into early April. This morning the freezing temperature line extends from along the southern Co and Ks border as far south as Memphis, Tn, Birmingham, Al to near Atlanta, Ga.
There is some concern of early AM freezing temperatures over the wheat fields of northern Tx early next week. The NWS forecast for AM lows on Monday at Wichita Falls, Tx and Gainesville, Tx call for a low 31 or 32 degrees. The European model is forecasting minimum temperatures down to freezing over the northern Tx panhandle this next Monday morning stretching from near Midland, Tx to the north of Abilene, Tx, toward Wichita Falls, Tx to approximately Lawton, Ok and eastward across southern Ok. Meanwhile a complex storm system is going to bring rain and snow across the southern plains beginning today into early next week.
On Saturday we expect light to moderate snow across southern Co and Ks, 0.25"-0.75"+ moisture amounts, with showers over Ok spreading east and south over Mo and Il Saturday and Saturday night and further east over In and Oh Sunday and Sunday night. Heavier showers, .50" to 1"+, are forecast across the northern Delta states tonight and over the weekend continuing to delay fieldwork and early planting activities.
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