Glorious sunshine, retreating rivers, balmy highs near 80. No complaints allowed.
Until Monday’s fine weather, temperatures were below average for 10 straight days. The half-inch of rain that fell Saturday further delayed spring planting and youth sports schedules, but green things are finally bursting with life.
For most urban dwellers, the only downside may be the pressing need to cut wild lawns.
But don’t get too excited yet. If the forecast for the next chance for cool temperatures and rain comes true, the mower stays in the garage again this weekend.
While April will end on a high note, with long-awaited sunny skies, the month as a whole has been cool and wet. The average temperature on 18 days fell below normal, often dipping into the 30s.
Anyone with a memory of last year’s dreadful heat and drought has little cause to grumble, excepting anxious farmers and the few folk who insist on living next door to major rivers.
The Mississippi and Illinois rivers continue falling, albeit slowly, including in Lincoln County, Mo., where a secondary levee broke Friday. At St. Louis, the Mississippi was at 33 feet Monday, down nearly 3 feet since cresting last Thursday and still 3 feet above flood stage. It is forecast to get below flood stage downtown by Friday.
Barry Nuss, Lincoln County’s flood-fighting spokesman, said water was retreating from the bottomland near Foley and Winfield, which were threatened by the break in the Bobs Creek levee. “So far, so good,” Nuss said Monday.
A deluge of rain across Iowa and northern Illinois provided most of the charge for the quick spring flood, but April rainfall at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport stands at a soggy 5.7 inches, 2.1 inches above normal. Precipitation since Jan. 1 is 17 inches, 5.5 inches above normal.
On Jan. 1, the Mississippi at St. Louis was within 2 feet of its low-water record. The river was flush on Monday, running 37 feet higher than it was only four months ago.
Weather, ever mercurial, is especially so this time of year. Monday’s high of 79 degrees was 7 degrees above normal. Sunday’s high was 14 below normal. Record highs and lows for Monday’s date are 91 and 35.
The National Weather Service says high temperatures will be in the 80s today and Wednesday under full sunshine, followed by a chance for rain and falling temperatures Thursday through Monday. Highs Friday and Saturday are forecast to dip back into the 50s.
Steady rain has kept farmers out of muddy fields, now blessed in some counties with a surplus of topsoil moisture after many months of drought. In Missouri and Illinois, corn planting is roughly two weeks behind schedule.
“Some people are getting nervous about putting a crop in the ground,” said Bob Garino, acting director of the federal crop-reporting service office in Columbia, Mo.
Garino said the cool, wet weather also has slowed development of the wheat crop. But with more sunshine, he said, it will be a good year for wheat.
Rain also has replenished farm ponds, many of which nearly dried up last fall.