While most states experience later-than-normal plantings, all eyes turn toward weather forecasts in anticipation of long-awaited spring fieldwork. But how accurate is that forecast? After unexpected rain and snow impacted much of the Midwest this week, Nutrien Ag Solutions Atmospheric Scientist Eric Snodgrass says 5-day forecasts trend toward 92% accuracy. A standard 7-day forecast is usually 82% accurate and 10-day forecast drops to 55% accuracy.

Meanwhile, La Niña weather patterns are moving in to the U.S., contributing to more unpredictability with high wind speeds in the Pacific Ocean. Snodgrass says La Niña tends to rob the movement of the jet stream that coves over the Midwest, usually resulting in too much or too late rain. Based on the latest outlooks, meteorologists agree La Niña is starting to shift. What does that mean for the growing season? Unseasonably cooler temperatures in the coming weeks with freeze potential seeping into the first week of May. Western regions will likely continue experiencing devastating drought and summer temperatures are expected to be in the normal to above-normal range.

However, Snodgrass urges farmers to not depend too much on forecasts and the market’s response to them. “Never bet the farm on the forecast,” he says.

Read more on spring weather conditions here.