The Plains: Beneficial, soaking rains finally fell on badly-needed D2, D3, and D4 drought areas of hard-hit Texas, Oklahoma, and Nebraska, with more falling after the 12 GMT Tuesday cutoff. In Texas, 1 to 3 inches of rain was measured in north-central, central, and southeastern Texas, providing a one category improvement many areas. Unfortunately, little or no rain was observed in western and extreme southern Texas, and some degradation was made. In Oklahoma, a large band of heavy rain (2 to 5 inches) fell from central to southeastern parts of the state, resulting in a one-category improvement. Most other areas of the state received enough precipitation (0.5 to 1.5 inches) to maintain conditions. Kansas was unfortunately left out of the heavy rains, with most stations reporting under 0.5 inches. In extreme northeastern Kansas, however, a small band of heavier rain (1.5 to 2.5 inches) was enough to diminish deficits and ease drought from D2 to D1.
Farther north, long overdue widespread and heavy rains finally fell on much of north-central Plains, especially from the southwestern Nebraska northeastward into southeastern South Dakota. Most locations reported 1.5 to 3 inches of rain, and a significant number of them likely received their greatest 24-hour totals in the past 12 months. According to the Nebraska State Climatologist Al Dutcher, all soil moisture sites in this area have hit 25 percent for the 4 foot layer, and 20 percent for the top 5 five foot. By next week it will become apparent how deep the moisture made it into the profile. Based upon past experiences, it is likely that field capacity will be reached in the top 2 feet of the profile at most locations. But due to the prolonged and severe drought, there is no deep moisture, but moisture is available to support planting and early emergence. Even with the April 9 rains, 12-month deficits still stood at: 10.59 inches at North Platte; 9.31 inches at Valentine; 16.59 inches at Broken Bow; and 6.55 inches at Imperial. And it will take substantial additional moisture to improve drought conditions further. Some reanalysis may occur next week as the full extent of the precipitation associated with this event can be examined. This event was a good start to the northern and central Plains rainy season which normally occurs from April into August. Similarly, some improvements were made farther north in western South Dakota and eastern Montana as 0.5 to 1.5 inches of precipitation reduced deficiencies. This area will also be reassessed next week as additional precipitation fell after the 12 GMT Tuesday cutoff. And lastly in North Dakota, snow covered ground and frozen soils meant status-quo for this state.
Here, in WI, we would be in the fields by now, but frost just went out this last week in the southern half. Moisture is good. Heavy snow and then four inches of rain to follow it into the soil. Now we need some warmth. Regardless, things look pretty good for CVR to start moving some N.