Bloomberg News

Colder Weather to Replace Record Midwest Warmth in April

April 03, 2012

The Midwest is about to get a dose of something it hasn’t had in a while -- colder weather.

Average temperatures across the north-central U.S. may reach seasonal levels or 2 to 6 degrees Fahrenheit (1.1 to 3.3 Celsius) below, according to David Salmon, owner of Weather Derivatives in Belton, Missouri.

Salmon said lows may fall to 30 degrees or below, which can damage flowering fruit trees, in the northern Great Plains and Midwest, including parts of Illinois, Nebraska, Iowa, Michigan, North Dakota and South Dakota from April 9 to April 13.

“There might not be much of a cherry crop in Michigan this year,” Salmon said by telephone. “If you like apples and apple products, you will still be able to get them, though you might pay more for them.”

Commodities traders watch temperature predictions to gauge energy use and demand. The Agriculture Department said March 30 that corn acreage in the U.S. this year will be the largest since 1937, and more than expected, as profit prospects improve and warm, dry weather encourages farmers to boost plantings.

Record-breaking warm temperatures in March that set a record for the month in Chicago prompted some fruit trees to start growing across the Midwest, leaving them susceptible to cold-related damage.

Last Freeze

Most farmers haven’t started planting corn in the Northern Plains because it would invalidate their crop insurance to plant before the last freeze date, Salmon said. While the official last freeze date varies by location in much of the northern U.S., it is generally in mid-April.

Warmth may return to the Great Plains by the middle of the month, while temperatures in the eastern U.S. remain more seasonal, said Matt Rogers, president of Commodity Weather Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland.

In his 11- to 15-day outlook for April 13 to April 17, Rogers said temperatures may be 5 to 8 degrees above normal from the Rocky Mountains to Minnesota.

The normal average temperature for April 11 in New York is about 51, according to MDA EarthSat Weather in Gaithersburg, Maryland. It’s 47 in Boston, 46 in Chicago, 56 in St. Louis, 61 in Atlanta, 64 in Dallas, 68 in Houston, 50 in Seattle and 61 in Burbank, California.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian K. Sullivan in Boston at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at

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