Summer-like burst in the western Corn Belt accelerating soil temperatures

Above-normal temperatures in early April will bring early spring leaf out to the western Corn Belt.

The northern and central U.S. Plains, including the western Corn Belt, are skipping straight to summer here in early April 2021 with temperatures more than 15°F. warmer than normal, according to data from WeatherTrends360. This early spurt of summer-like weather will continue through at least the front half of the first full week of April. This stretch of very warm weather will help to accelerate spring leaf out across the central and northern Plains which will be much earlier than normal.

While the warmer weather will help plants to bloom earlier, these earlier blooms will put sensitive vegetation at a higher risk of frost and freeze damage as we are still about a month away from the average last freeze date across the northern Plains. On the upside, much warmer weather will help to bring soil temperatures up to par in plenty of time for the planting season.

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There has been recent improvement in drought conditions across the eastern Corn Belt, thanks to widespread precipitation in late March 2021. Illinois and Indiana saw improvements while northeast Illinois and eastern Indiana saw an expansion of dry conditions. Long-term drought in northwest Iowa continues although there was some improvement in central Iowa recently. Dry weather and strong winds in late March across the Dakotas supported an expansion of drought conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

After a tranquil Easter weekend across a large portion of the U.S., WeatherTrends360 expects that there will be a period of unsettled weather late this week in the northern Plains and Midwest. In fact, above-normal rainfall is favored for some drought-stricken areas, like South Dakota and possibly into North Dakota and even northwest Iowa. However, drought conditions are expected to continue for this region due to long-term dry trends.

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