Warmer than Average Temperatures to Continue

Warmer than average temperatures are forecast to continue through May and the next few months, according to a National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) April 21, 2016 Climate Prediction Center Outlook.

“The national climate outlook takes into account long-term trends in temperature and precipitation, seasonal climatology, computer models and expertise of forecasters in NOAA,” explained Laura Edwards, SDSU Extension Climate Field Specialist.

She added that the early part of 2016 has been dominated by warmer than average temperatures. Since the first of the year, temperatures across the state are 2 to 8 degrees above average.

The NOAA climate outlook indicates an increased likelihood of warmer than average temperatures in northern South Dakota in May.

For the season ahead, May through July, there is increased likelihood of warmer than average temperatures across the entire state.

Recent Moisture will Benefit Farmers
As far as precipitation, the year so far has been a mixed bag, with some areas receiving much more precipitation than others.

“The last week has been especially wet through central South Dakota, but much of the far northeast and the Black Hills are still below average since January 1,” Edwards said.

The outlook for precipitation shows equal chances of below average, near average and above average rainfall for May through July. “There is a large area just to the south that is more likely to be wetter than normal, so there may be some opportunity to get some good storms that tap into the moisture from the south, such as we saw this last week,” Edwards said.

Edwards added that before last weekend, there had been some growing concern about drought conditions setting in, especially in northern South Dakota. “Fortunately, the recent rains have alleviated much of that concern,” she said. “The 2-inches or more that much of the state received came at a good pace as was able to effectively soak into the soils.”

Edwards said that there was not much runoff or flooding, except in some localized areas.

“These improvements in soil moisture will be of great benefit as area farmers transition from small grains planting to corn in the coming weeks,” she said.

For some of our corn growing area, soil temperatures have not yet reached the recommended 50 degree threshold for planting. Because of this, Edwards said some period of warmer weather will be needed to increase soil temperatures to reach the ideal conditions for corn planting.

Water supplies for livestock appear to have had some recovery as well. “The recent wet weather has helped refill stock water supplies,” she said. As a result of these reduced water concerns and improvements in soil moisture, the U.S. Drought Monitor this week eliminated most of the abnormally dry conditions through the central part of the state.

Even though the outlook for May shows warmer than average temperatures favored across the northern tier of South Dakota, the nearer term forecast shows near average or cooler temperatures for the next week or two.

Edwards said the shorter term outlook for the next two weeks shows an active weather pattern returning to the region. “This means more chances of rainfall across the area after our brief period of warm and dry weather,” she said.

Winter wheat and other small grains could also benefit from the active weather pattern. There may be some delay in corn planting and other field activities again as wetter weather returns.

Source: Laura Edwards, South Dakota State University Extension

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