Wednesday, May 28, 2008

USDA National Weather and Crop Report: May 27, 2008

Nutshell: Cold where stuff grows, hot where it don't.

Highlights: Cool weather plagued the Midwestern and Northeastern States, holding weekly temperatures 4 to 12 degrees F below normal and limiting summer crop emergence and development. In addition, showers hampered fieldwork across the southern half of the Corn Belt, but mostly dry weather favored corn and soybean planting in the Great Lakes region.

Farther west, heavy rain pounded the northern and central Plains, with at least 4 inches reported in many locations from Montana to Kansas. Although rain generally aided the Plains’ winter wheat and emerged summer crops, thunderstorms produced local damage due to large hail, high winds, and isolated tornadoes. In fact, more than 100 tornadoes struck the central Plains on May 22-23, according to preliminary reports, followed by approximately 50 tornadoes from the southern High Plains into the upper Midwest on May 25. Meanwhile, warm weather promoted rapid crop development across the South, although showers—mainly from the Delta to the southern Atlantic Coast—caused some delays in cotton and peanut planting and other late-spring fieldwork. In southern Florida, however, rain aided wildfire containment efforts.

Heat was especially notable in Texas, where temperatures mostly ranged from 4 to 8 degrees F above normal. In contrast, chilly weather returned to the West, accompanied by widespread rain and snow. Precipitation was particularly heavy in the northern Rockies, while showers across the interior Northwest aided winter grains and spring-sown crops. On May 22-23, snow was reported as far south as Arizona, where Flagstaff received 5 inches.

Early in the week, hot weather persisted in the West. In California, Death Valley’s high of 120 degrees F on May 19 represented its hottest weather on record so early in the season. Previously, Death Valley’s earliest reading of 120 degrees F or higher occurred on May 25, 1913. In fact, Death Valley opened the week with three consecutive daily-record highs (118, 120, and 117 degrees F) from May 18-20, along with Arizona locations such as Yuma (113, 115, and 112 degrees F) and Kingman (99, 103, and 100 degrees F)....

The National Agricultural Summary begins on page 3 of the 13 page PDF.