All graphics courtesy of USDA, NOAA, Department of Commerce
Rain fell early in the week and again toward week’s end in much of the Midwest, curtailing fieldwork at times. However, somewhat drier conditions prevailed in Indiana and Ohio, allowing corn and soybean planting to advance. Locally heavy rain also extended southward into parts of Texas, further sharpening the gradient between wet conditions on the southeastern Plains and worsening drought across the southern High Plains and the Southwest.
The rain was accompanied by a multi-day severe weather outbreak, which included a deadly EF-5 tornado in Moore, Ok., on May 20. Showers also affected the Southeast, causing some fieldwork delays but aiding pastures and summer crops. Rainfall was generally lighter in Alabama and along the Gulf Coast.
Elsewhere, widespread showers from the Pacific Northwest to the northern Rockies contrasted with dry weather farther south. In the Northwest, showers benefited rangeland, pastures, and rain-fed small grains. Meanwhile, temperatures averaged within a few degrees of normal nationwide.
However, relatively cool conditions across the Northwest and upper Midwest contrasted with generally warm conditions across the South. Some of the most dramatic temperature variations occurred in the lower Great Lakes region, where readings near 90° F on May 20-21 were replaced by frosty conditions (temperatures near 32° F) on May 25.