Everyone is hoping for a warmer and drier April as March was a brutal month for stock growers over a large swath of the nation. The winter of 2019 will be long remembered for severe cold, heavy snows and flooding in key livestock areas of the nation.
While the winter season got off to a somewhat slow start, the Polar Vortex, which brought record cold temperatures, snows and lots of hardship, descended on the U.S. in January and February.
To make matters worse, March came in like a lion with the “Bomb Cyclone” slamming the Rockies and High Plains. It was the worst March snowstorm in 15 years. Snow drifts of 6 to 10 feet were reported across Wyoming, Nebraska and Colorado. Heavy rains caused historic flooding across eastern Nebraska, portions of Iowa, South Dakota, Kansas, Missouri and Minnesota.
Everyone is ready for less stormy weather, less flooding and warmer temperatures in the month of April. As we look at weather patterns in April, stock growers will need to remain vigilant as there are more storms to come.
One benefit of the stormy weather this winter is increased precipitation in the far western areas that were under drought conditions. By the end of March, California had its drought erased and most of the nation will head into summer with adequate soil moisture conditions.
April is likely going to start off with temperatures at or below normal for most of the nation. The Rockies and Northern Plains will be the coolest while the southeastern states will remain warmer.
The graphic below shows cooler than normal temperatures in the central and west with more mild temperatures in the east. We will likely experience the most stormy and coldest weather conditions during the first two weeks of the month.
When it comes to precipitation, April will be a wet month for most of the lower 48 states. The graphic below shows a lot of green (above normal precipitation) in the west to east across the central and southern areas of the USA. While precipitation may not be as heavy in the flood stricken areas in April, it is likely that there will be enough rain for more flooding concerns to continue through the month and into May.
Snowmelt in the Rockies during the second half of April will result in flooding concerns further west into May and June.