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Weather Talk: Dry soil has allowed for cool nights, warm days

The first half of May has been warm and dry, relative to average. Although the airport thermometer has officially recorded three mornings below freezing (May 2, 10 and 11), the average daily mean temperature is running about 3 degrees warmer than average.

Since the snow melted in mid-April, there have only been a few scattered, quick showers leaving our topsoil rather dry. This has allowed sunny days to become warm in the afternoon sun even following cool mornings.

Five days so far this month have warmed up more than 40 degrees from the morning low to the afternoon high. This kind of daily turnaround is common this time of year before crops cover the topsoil, especially if the topsoil is dry.

As summer progresses, such daily swings of temperature will become unlikely as wheat, corn, beans and beets mature and cover the dark soil of our region.

John Wheeler

John was born in Baton Rouge, LA, and grew up near Birmingham, Alabama. As a teenager, his family moved to Madison, Wisconsin, and later to a small town in northeast Iowa. John traces his early interest in weather to the difference in climate between Alabama and Wisconsin. He is a graduate of Iowa State University with a degree in meteorology. Like any meteorologist, John is intrigued by extremes of weather, especially arctic air outbreaks and winter storms.  John has been known to say he prefers his summers to be hot but in winter, he prefers the cold.  When away from work, John enjoys long-distance running and reading.  John has been a meteorologist at WDAY since May of 1985.

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