Rain, cold puts brakes on spring planting in nation's midsection

April 25, 2013 at 9:15 AM
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CHICAGO, April 25 (UPI) -- Precipitation, along with chilly temps and muddy soil in much of the U.S. midsection crimped spring planting this year, forecasters said.

Nurseries and farmers' markets have pushed back their seasonal openings in a nod to the unseasonably cold and blustery weather.

Forecasters noted during the last several years, it's been a weather see-saw for agriculture in portions of the Central states, AccuWeather.com said Thursday.

Wet weather and flooding plagued many areas during 2011 while spring warmth became blistering heat and drought during the summer last year. This season, so far, from the Mississippi Valley into the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley region, it is flooding and a lingering chill, AccuWeather.com said.

A storm percolating in the southern Plains will bring the risk for strong thunderstorms, hail and heavy rain along the Red River and north beginning Friday, AccuWeather.com said. The storms have the potential of causing isolated damaging wind gusts as high as 60 mph, forecasters said, adding a stray tornado could occur.

Forecasters said nation's midsection could see some warmth and only spotty rainfall later this weekend into early next week. However, additional rain was forecast for late next week, accompanied by another mass of cold air.

In Chicago, meteorologists said rain on Tuesday officially made April the wettest April on record, the Chicago Tribune reported.

As of midday Wednesday, 8.58 inches of precipitation had fallen in April, besting the 8.33 inches that fell in April 1947.

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