Much Like April, Cool Weather Lingers during the First Week of May

cool temps

Temperatures in April were about 2-5°F below the long-term mean (1981-2010; Figure 1-Left) and included three major freeze events that brought some horticultural damage across southern counties and scattered minor reports of burned tips on alfalfa and wheat.

Precipitation varied significantly across the state. Unlike much of the spring of 2019, lighter amounts fell across northwest Ohio compared to southeast Ohio. Only about 1 inch of rain fell in southern Fulton/northwest Henry Counties for the month, with more than six inches in parts of Adams, Monroe, and Belmont Counties. These totals are about 1-2 inches below the long-term mean in the northwest, with most counties southeast of I-71 showing surpluses of 1 to 4 inches for the month (Figure 1 – right). For more information on recent climate conditions, check out the weekly Hydro-Climate Assessment from the State Climate Office of Ohio.

Air temperature  departure April 1 to April 30, 2020

Precipitation departure April 1 to April 30, 2020










Figure 1: Left) Average temperature differences for April 2020 compared to long-term normal April conditions. Right) April 2020 precipitation differences compared to the long-term April mean. All differences are calculated with respect to the 1981-2010 period

This past weekend, many areas throughout Ohio hit 80°F for the first time this season, but those conditions are gone and not likely to return for a while. In fact, temperatures are expected to be more April-like over the next couple of weeks. Highs will generally be in the upper-40s to upper-50s (north to south) and overnight lows in the 30s, with a few passing disturbances that may bring some light rain during the week. A few spots, mainly across northern Ohio and low-lying areas elsewhere may be dealing with some frost/light freeze conditions throughout the week and even some conversational snowflakes by the weekend as well. Be sure to monitor changes from your National Weather Service offices and local media. 

The latest NOAA/NWS/Climate Prediction Center outlook for the 6-10 day period (May 10-14) shows a strong probability for below average temperatures with slightly elevated probability for below average precipitation (Figure 2). Highs during the period should be in the upper-60s to mid-70s (north to south) with overnight lows in the mid-40s to low-50s and about 0.9-1.10” of precipitation per week. The 16-Day Rainfall Outlook from NOAA/NWS/Ohio River Forecast Center reflects near to slightly below average precipitation over the next couple of weeks as well. 

Figure 2: Climate Prediction Center 6-10 Day Outlook valid for May 10-14, 2020 for top) temperatures and bottom) precipitation. Colors represent the probability of below, normal, or above normal conditions.

Temperature outlook for May 10-14, 2020Precipitation outlook for May 10-14, 2020


Crop Observation and Recommendation Network

C.O.R.N. Newsletter is a summary of crop observations, related information, and appropriate recommendations for Ohio crop producers and industry. C.O.R.N. Newsletter is produced by the Ohio State University Extension Agronomy Team, state specialists at The Ohio State University and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC). C.O.R.N. Newsletter questions are directed to Extension and OARDC state specialists and associates at Ohio State.