Updated May 2, 2016.
The National Weather Service released their seasonal outlook today. Here is their discussion of the outlooks. Hmm, I thought they were retiring the all-caps style.
BOTH OCEAN AND ATMOSPHERIC CONDITIONS ACROSS THE EQUATORIAL PACIFIC OCEAN INDICATE A CONTINUED WEAKENING EL NINO STATE OVER THE PAST MONTH, WITH A TRANSITION TO ENSO-NEUTRAL FAVORED DURING THE LATE SPRING OR EARLY SUMMER 2016. THE LIKELIHOOD OF LA NINA DEVELOPING THEREAFTER INCREASES QUITE RAPIDLY WITH THE CHANCES EXCEEDING 50 PERCENT BY LATE SUMMER 2016, EARLIER THAN THE PREVIOUS OFFICIAL ASSESSMENT.
The outlook for May indicates that Illinois has an increased chance of being warmer than average. Illinois has equal chances of being above, below, or near-average on precipitation. Click to enlarge maps.
Here are the conditions across the Corn Belt for April so far. Except for the western edge of region, temperatures in the Corn Belt have been well below normal for April (left panel). Meanwhile, precipitation has been slightly above normal in MI, IN, OH, and parts of Illinois. Many areas in the western Corn Belt are 1 to 2 inches below normal (right panel). The NWS forecasts indicate that temperatures in the second half of April are likely to be well above normal across the region with little rain expected in the coming week. That’s good news for field work but raises some concerns about dryness in the west.
The latest NASS report from USDA pegs the percent planted at 2 percent. In recent trips around Illinois I have seen very little field work of any kind, except around Quincy. Here are a few things we are seeing in mid April.
Here is the April precipitation as of the morning of April 14. The areas in yellow received between 2 and 3 inches, while areas in the shades of green received between 0.5 and 2 inches. The driest part of the state received less than half an inch and stretches from Quincy eastward along the Illinois River and another patch just south of the Quad Cities.