Spring was more than 10 days later than usual for many US states this year, according to data from The USA National Phenology Network, which tracks the physical arrival of spring by looking at when leaves and other growth appears and blooms.
2019 saw the latest arrival of spring in 38 years of records for parts of Kansas, Oklahoma, Washington and Oregon, with many other regions of the US seeing a later-than-usual start to spring.
The absence of spring was due to a stubborn dip in the jet stream which subjected parts of the Northwest, Plains and Midwest to brutal Arctic air for much of March and April, busting a myriad of all-time cold-weather records in the process.
Temps remained cold from January though April from Montana to Wisconsin and as far south as Iowa and Nebraska, and when May finally arrived it brought with it yet another blast of near-freezing temperatures to portions of the central Plains, with Duluth, Minnesota shattering an all-time May snowfall record when more than 10 inches fell on May 8 into May 9.
Late-Spring Agricultural Consequences
These frigid temperatures have generally been accompanied by very wet conditions, in fact the US just had its wettest 12 months in recorded history. This combination of cold and wet has exacerbated the agricultural impacts of a late spring.
The melt after a very snowy winter season combined with the record precipitation this spring has resulted in fields being flooded so badly that they simply cannot be planted this year, according to the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC).
As of the end of April, corn planting was behind the 5-year average in all Midwest states.
By May 12, only 30 percent of the nation’s corn acreage had been planted, 36 points behind the 5-year average.
The corn planting in Illinois as of May 12 was the slowest ever in records dating back to 1979, according to Karen Braun, global agriculture columnist at Thomson Reuters.
The soybean crop is also way behind schedule. As of May 12, planting stands at just 9 percent — 20 points behind the 5-year average, according to the USDA.
And the persistent cold and late-season snow in the Dakotas has not allowed the soil to warm up and has prevented crop planting there too, the NCDC reported in its April summary.
The list of cold-weather impacts goes on and on.
And you can click here for a more detailed report from weather.com
More of the Same
Any hopes of getting corn and soybean planting back on track will likely be washed away starting Friday as a pair of storms threaten torrential rains across the Great Plains and Midwest through next week.
As much 5 inches will soak soils from South Dakota and Minnesota south to Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas, according to the U.S. Weather Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland.
“The severe weather starts on Friday and continues for several days after that,” said Marc Chenard, a senior branch forecaster at the Weather Prediction Center.
“Another one arrives early next week — Sunday into Monday. It is kind of like a one-two punch with multiple days of severe weather and heavy rainfall.”
There’s no doubt these planting issues are fast-becoming a serious development.
And one forewarned by those studying the impacts of past Grand Solar Minimums.
Expect food prices to skyrocket, as the cold times return.
Grow your own.
Grand Solar Minimum + Pole Shift
(Featured image: USA National Phenology Network, www.usanpn.org)