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Disturbed by raindrops Sunday afternoon, the surface of the James River in McElroy Park reflects a cold, gray sky and trees whose branches have not yet begun to sprout green leaves. Kari Lucin / The Sun

Chill expected to persist this week in Stutsman County

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news Jamestown, 58401
Jamestown North Dakota 121 3rd St NW 58401

Farmers looking to the forecast hoping for warmer weather that will allow for planting may well be disappointed this week, as the chill is expected to persist in the Stutsman County area.

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“The next couple days are going to be rather cold, and the rest of the week is going to be below average too,” said Ken Simosko, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Bismarck.

The NWS predicted that today’s rain will change to snow tonight, with little accumulation likely due to the relatively warm ground. Highs this week will range from the lower 40s to the mid-50s, but lows won’t rise from the mid-30s through Saturday for the area.

“It’s getting to the point where … we should be having the wheat in and the corn in, and the next week or two, we should have beans in,” said Bruce Guthmiller, who farms wheat, corn and beans 3 miles northeast of Robinson, N.D. “It’s not too late for it yet, but when it clears up, it’s really going to have to start moving.’

Farmer Steve Dale has done a little fertilizing and a little rock-picking on his land about 8 miles southeast of Montpelier, but said it was slow going.

“I have corn and beans, and I just think it’s too cold for corn and beans,” Dale said.

The moisture in his area is about right for farming, he said, but the temperature isn’t high enough to take the chill out of the ground.

“This year, if it doesn’t warm up, the ground temperature to germinate corn would be too cold,” Dale said.

He said if the weather straightens out soon enough, planting will still get done in a timely manner, as it doesn’t take long with big planters and larger machinery.

“We’ve got some wheat in and we’ve got a few potatoes in — that’s about it,” said Jeff VanRay, who grows corn, potatoes, wheat and soybeans in the Pettibone, N.D., area. “We’ve got some done. We’re just getting going, but it looks like this is going to delay things.”

VanRay too cited soil temperature as a problem, and said that in some areas, the frost still isn’t out of the soil yet.

According to Simosko, the frost is out to about 40 inches down into the soil.

The chill in the air, though, comes from a persistent weather pattern in which upper-level winds have continued to come in from the northwest — bringing cool air with them.

And that pattern, Simosko said, has persisted for about a year, broken up occasionally by warmer air but always returning.

“That’s been the biggest problem. That pattern, I don’t know when that’s going to change,” he said.

Temperatures will be below normal for North Dakota May 5-11, and even the three-month forecast for the area — May, June and July — is for below normal temperatures.

“It’s going to be, probably, about a spring like last year. We got in fairly late last year,” VanRay said. “Hopefully it warms up, but it sounds like it’s going to be cool all next week.

“But we’ll have to see what happens,” he added.

Sun reporter Kari Lucin can

be reached at (701) 952-8453 or by email at klucin@jamestownsun.com

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