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Weather Forecast (05/03/18)

The May 3 through May 9, 2018 Weather Summary/Outlook

The May 3 through May 9, 2018 Weather Summary/Outlook

All of the North Dakota Agricultural Weather Network (NDAWN) stations finish the month of April well below average for temperatures.  Last month started as one of the coldest Aprils on record, but the warmer air toward the end of the month kept last month from being one of the top five coldest Aprils on record. Instead, April 2018 finished as the 6th coldest on record in Fargo, the 8th coldest on record in both Grand Forks and Williston and the 9th coldest on record in Bismarck.


From March to October, cold months tends to be wet months as the cloudiness associated with the extra precipitation tends to keep the temperatures cooler. Last month, many areas recorded below average precipitation, even with the temperatures being well below normal. Because much of the precipitation during the first half of April was snowfall, the NDAWN stations were not able to accurately measure it. Below is the rain totals from April 1 through May 1 but many areas received much more than is indicated because of the early April snowfall. Even with some missing precipitation, the western portion of the NDAWN network did record above average rain / melted snow during the past few weeks.


After the dryness of 2017, there is some concern over the lack of rain / snow for parts of the region over the past few weeks. As a reminder, this time of year the Sun is as high in the sky as early August, but with far less average precipitation. In other words, if you take into account the potential evaporation in combination with the average amount of precipitation, mid-April into early May could be considered the driest time of the year. Therefore, our current dryness that some are concerned with, is a very common occurrence this time of year. This is and has been historically our fire season that will last until spring green up. May is often our second rainiest month of the year, but a high percentage of that wetness comes during the second half of the month. Therefore, concerns over a repeat of 2017 is premature at this point and there are hints of a weather pattern change coming later this month.

In the short term, little precipitation is foreseen through next Monday with air temperatures expected to be a bit above average for the next several days.  Those two factors should allow the soil temperatures to continue to slowly warmup over the next week. Currently, soil temperatures are in the 40s, but should rise into the 50s or even the low 60s by next week. Of course, soil temperatures rise each sunny day quite a bit, but taking a daily average from the NDAWN website tends to give a more accurate representation of soil temperatures. Below is the daily average bare soil temperatures at a 4 inch depth on May 1.


Daryl Ritchison


Interim Director of the North Dakota Agricultural Weather Network



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