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Don’t Expect an Early Spring, Meteorologist Says

With roughly five weeks until the official first day of spring, Kyle Tapley of Radiant Solutions is predicting a season quite close to average.

Spring weather is challenging to forecast, but with a little over a month until the official start of spring, meteorologists are beginning to have a better idea of what to expect. 

The arrival of spring, and with it the beginning of planting season, will vary across the Corn Belt, according to Kyle Tapley, a senior agricultural meteorologist at Radiant Solutions. Tapley expects states like Iowa, Minnesota, and the Dakotas in the western area of the Corn Belt to experience the latest spring arrival this year, slightly later than normal.

Spring should arrive sooner for the states to the east of the northern Midwest, like Ohio, which is expected to see a spring arrival on par with the normal start of planting season, Tapley says.

Once spring gets here, temperatures are expected to fluctuate but nothing out of the ordinary. 

“Overall, most of the main corn growing areas in the Midwest should be fairly close to normal,” Tapley says. “We’re expecting for the month of March and even in April, fairly close to normal. It may be a little bit warmer in April than what we’re going to see in March, relative to normal. Overall, nothing too extreme right now across the Midwest once we get into planting season.”

Precipitation is a similar story. Tapley says the forecasts show fairly normal levels of precipitation once spring hits. March could see a little bit drier weather in the northern Midwest and across the Mississippi River Delta. April appears to have drier weather across the central Midwest.

“Spring weather is always pretty tricky to forecast,” Tapley says. “It can be pretty volatile. Even though the month may average out to normal, it doesn’t mean you can’t have some pretty big swings happen day-to-day and average out to normal overall.”

The weeks leading up to spring

The coldest temperatures across the country over the next few weeks will be in the central Midwest, particularly in the northern Plains, according to Tapley. 

It looks like the temperatures will be well below normal for the rest of the month across Iowa, Minnesota, and westward.  

“Those areas are going to be, over the next couple of weeks, averaging 10°F. to 15°F. below normal,” Tapley says.

For precipitation, Tapley expects more snow across parts of the northern Plains and northwestern Midwest. Heavier rainfall is expected down across the southern Midwest and into the Delta. 

Extended look to the summer

Record-low temperatures have already been recorded this year during the polar vortex. According to AccuWeather, temperatures in Minnesota reached actual temperatures of -56°F. in Cotton, and a “RealFeel” temperature of -77°F.  in Thief River Falls. 

Temperatures like that make the desire for summer even stronger. 

Tapley’s team at Radiant Solutions hasn’t put together an official summer forecast yet, but he says he’s leaning toward a summer that is a little bit warmer than normal, similar to the last few years. 

“Nothing extreme at this point as far as heat is concerned,” he says. 
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