Spring Weather & Soil Conditions: Update

Source: Aaron Wilson, OSU Extension

Soil Temperatures and Moisture
Air temperatures in Ohio ran 2-5°F below average over the last 7 days. In fact, locations across northwest and northeast Ohio fell below freezing on the morning of May 18th, with unofficial reports as low as 26°F in Sandusky County. Daily average soil temperatures cooled late last week with the colder temperatures but have rebounded back into the low 60s across the north and mid 60s for central and southern locations (Figure 1).

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Figure 1: Daily average air temperature (dashed red), two-inch (green) and four-inch (blue) soil temperatures for spring 2023. Soil type and location of measurements (under sod or bare soil) are provided in the lower right corner of each panel. A map of all locations is in the bottom right. Data provided by the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) Agricultural Research Stations located throughout the state.

Two main paths of showers and storms dropped 1-2” of rain this past week over portions of west central to north central Ohio, as well as counties in eastern Ohio and along the Ohio River (Figure 2-left). Despite this rainfall, the western half of the Buckeye State is running 50-75% of normal precipitation over the last 30 days. Cool conditions have kept evaporation at a minimum however, and soil moisture remains adequate across the state (Figure 2-right). For more complete weather records for CFAES research stations, including temperature, precipitation, growing degree days, and other useful weather observations, please visit https://www.oardc.ohio-state.edu/weather1/.

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Figure 2: (Left) Total precipitation over the 7-day period of 8am May 15 – 8am May 22, 2023. Figure provided by the Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service (Right) Calculated soil moisture percentiles as of 5/20/2023 according to the Climate Prediction Center.

Weather Forecast
High pressure will dominate the forecast this week, with very few opportunities for rain across the region. A few light scattered showers may brush the state on Tuesday, then again on Friday and Saturday with a passing system coming up the east coast. Most of the state will remain dry with only up to 0.10” expected for the southeastern half of the state (Figure 3). Temperatures will remain mild as well, with highs mostly in the 70s to low 80s and overnight lows in the 40s and 50s.

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Figure 3). Precipitation forecast from the Weather Prediction Center for 8pm Monday May 22  – 8pm Monday May 29, 2023.


Figure 4) Climate Prediction Center 6-10 Day Outlook valid for May 28  – June 1, 2023, for left) temperatures and right) precipitation. Colors represent the probability of below, normal, or above normal conditions.

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