Ag Weather Forum

Drier Weather Pattern, But Not for Everyone

John Baranick
By  John Baranick , DTN Meteorologist
Upper-level flow from the northwest is generally a cooler and drier pattern for those east of the Rockies, but there will be some nuance to this setup. (Tropical Tidbits graphic)

Above-normal precipitation has been quite prolific across most areas of the country this spring, and especially in May. Outside of some streaks here and there, areas east of the Rockies have all seen above-normal rainfall. That rain has come with areas of flooding and severe weather, which has limited spring planting in some areas and caused the need to replant in others.

But the weather pattern is about to turn a little drier, at least for most areas for a little while.

An upper-level ridge is developing in the western United States this week. In response, a trough across the Canadian Prairies will move southeast into the Eastern U.S. where it will be somewhat stagnant through next week. This is generally a setup that produces dry weather east of the Rockies and really throughout the country. While western states will become very hot, with 90s reaching up into the Pacific Northwest, temperatures underneath the eastern trough east of the Rockies are generally mild to cool. Taking some perspective into account now that we're in June, cool still means rather pleasant temperatures with highs generally in the 70s north and the 80s Fahrenheit south. But oppressive heat and humidity won't be around for too many folks.

Though that will be the general forecast starting on June 6, not all areas will see those conditions through next week. As with most weather, there's almost always some nuance to the forecast.

First, a system that is in the Canadian Prairies will drag a cold front into and through much of the country through June 6, which is the start of our change in pattern. But the low-pressure center to the system will remain stuck underneath the eastern trough around the Great Lakes in some regard through at least early next week and probably beyond that a few days as well. That will keep some isolated to widely scattered showers going around there and particularly in Michigan for a while.

That system's front will clear most of the country, but not the Southern Plains, as it will get hung up around the Kansas and Oklahoma border region.

South of there, temperatures will continue to be high and 90s will be a little more common as will some 100-degree readings in western Texas. That front will also get a little more active with showers and thunderstorms starting on Friday and continuing into the weekend. Those showers and storms may extend southeast into the Tennessee Valley and Gulf Coast over the weekend.

The front should try to be pushed south early next week, cooling off Texas and bringing more dry weather to more of the country. Some of these areas, particularly in the Southern Plains, will welcome the wetter weather, while some areas, particularly around Michigan, will not. So, it is still a mixed bag.

But overall, this will be a drier and milder look to the weather pattern for an extended period that most areas haven't seen in weeks. That should allow wet soils and ponding to drain more effectively, and allow those yet to plant to find some time to do so.

Overall crop health for the early portion of the season should also remain high. The draining should help to build root systems as well. The streaks of "drier" weather that have occurred in some areas of the country in the active pattern may see some adverse reaction to the dryness, but it does look to be short-lived as the pattern probably gets active again for the second half of June.

Models do have a caveat in the forecast for next week, though. On June 3, models had a disturbance and little system moving along the international border for early next week, in the June 10-12 timeframe. But on today's runs, both the American GFS and European ECMWF models have basically eliminated all precipitation with that system, instead directing it near the front in the southwestern Plains. So, there is still some nuance to work out. This should still be regarded as a mostly favorable forecast for the country's growing regions, regardless if the system develops or not.

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John Baranick can be reached at


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