Dry Weather Leading to Ahead-of-Schedule Planting

Corey Davis, Assistant State Climatologist for North Carolina, joins me now. And Corey, a few weeks ago you placed some bets, which is legal in North Carolina now. You made some predictions about the forecast coming up and one of those predictions or bets was that we were going to have a nice, wet April. Sounds like you lost some money! What’s going on?

“Yeah, Mike, we talked about beginner’s luck sometimes. So this was beginner’s bad luck, I guess. With the first debt that’s, that’s coming due this spring. Like we talked about a couple of weeks ago. The bar is pretty low to clear for April precipitation. This is climatologically, one of our drier months of the year. We only averaged about three and a half inches of rain in April in North and South Carolina. And we were comfortably wetter than that back in March. We had about five and a half inches of rain then so I figured that as long as that March pattern or anything close to it continued into April, we would be above normal, but instead we have been pretty dry the last few weeks. The few weather systems that we have had come through like we saw last Saturday and Sunday. have just not brought a whole lot of rain to most of the Carolinas so you’re going into the final weekend of April. We’re seeing a good chunk of North Carolina that has seen less than two inches of rain all month and South Carolina they fared a little bit better but still places like Columbia have only seen about two and a half inches so far in April. So again, even compared to that lower average number of about three and a half inches. We are going to come in below normal for the month of April.”

A dry April is not all that bad. I mean, it’s planting season, and the farmers have to be pretty pleased with that, and I think the planting progress shows that.

“It really does. Mike in North Carolina, we’re seeing the corn and the tobacco planting is a little bit ahead of the five-year average. In South Carolina things are really right on the five-year average. So in a few spots, we’re hearing some concerns about soil moisture levels. If you remember back a couple of weeks ago, we did have some windy weather. We’ve also had some pretty warm days recently so both of those will help to sap the soil moisture a little bit. But with that said, I’m actually surprised that the soil moisture looks as good as it does right now. And I think a lot of that is really thanks to the rain we had back in March. It was a very wet march for most areas. So it seems like the soils have done a good job of hanging on to that moisture from a month ago. And again, for the farmers no real cause for concern right now. They are loving these dry days to get out in the field and get that planting done.”

Is that going to continue? What’s the forecast look like?

“A dry week in store. So far that has not been a big problem, especially for that springtime planting, but by this time next week, we will certainly be looking for a little bit more rain, especially if that warmer weather pans out over these next few days.”