Soil Temperatures and Moisture
Following the second warmest winter on record (1895-2023) and near to above average temperatures throughout March, soil temperatures started April off in the low to mid 50s but have since dropped back into the mid-40s to around 50°F (Figure 1). With a steady warming trend in air temperatures expected this week, soil temperatures should respond nicely.
Ohio has experienced an active weather pattern since late winter, though the storm tracks have shifted northward of late (Figure 2-left). Areas along and northwest of about 1-71 are running up to 200% of normal over the last 45 days, especially in southwest Ohio. March was a bit drier than average across southeast Ohio, running as low as 50% of normal. This has soil moisture running above the 70th percentile across northern Ohio and in a few counties across the southwest as well (Figure 2-right). This week’s conditions should help continue to dry out soils ahead of planting. 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/.
A nearly perfect spring forecast lies ahead this week. High pressure will provide abundant sunshine through Friday with a gradual warming trend. Highs on Tuesday will range from the mid-60s (northeast) to the mid-70s (south), and we will add 2-3 degrees each day to our highs. Overnight lows should remain about freezing all week as well. A cold front will approach the region for the weekend, with increasing chances of rain showers through Monday. Rainfall should remain on the light side however, with the the Weather Prediction Center currently forecasting less than 0.5” across most the state over the next 7 days (Figure 3).
The 6-10 day outlook from the Climate Prediction Center and the 16-Day Rainfall Outlook from NOAA/NWS/Ohio River Forecast Center show temperatures leaning toward below average with near average precipitation (Figure 4). Climate averages include a high-temperature range of 59-64°F, a low-temperature range of 37-42°F, and weekly total precipitation of about 1 inch.