Across the Corn Belt, cold weather has largely ended the growing season from the Mississippi Valley westward, although summer crops are already mature and not susceptible to freeze injury. Meanwhile, mostly dry weather has returned to the eastern Corn Belt, where soggy fields continue to restrict fieldwork.
On the Plains, dry weather prevails. Mild air is gradually expanding across the region, following the recent cold snap that resulted in freezes as far south as northern and eastern Oklahoma. Rain will soon be needed on the southern Plains to prevent a second consecutive year of poor winter wheat establishment.
In the South, cool but dry weather is accelerating fieldwork. Frost was noted this morning as far south as portions the central Gulf Coast States (Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama).
In the West, warm, dry weather continues to promote fieldwork, including cotton harvesting in California and Arizona and late-season winter wheat planting in the Northwest.
Mild air will continue to expand eastward from the Plains, although cool weather will linger in the East through the weekend. Meanwhile, a series of Pacific disturbances will generate light showers across the nation’s northern tier, starting in the Pacific Northwest later Friday and reaching the Great Lakes region early next week.
A few weekend showers may also affect the southeastern Plains and the Mid-South, but dry conditions will persist across the central and southern High Plains’ winter wheat production areas.
Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for cooler-than-normal conditions from the southern High Plains to the Atlantic Coast States, while above-normal temperatures prevail from the northern Plains to the Pacific Coast. Wetter-than-normal weather will prevail across the central Rockies and from the Great Lakes and Tennessee Valley into the Northeast. In contrast, below-normal precipitation is expected across the Great Plains and from the Gulf Coast into the Great Basin and central Pacific Coast.