Across the Corn Belt, cool, rainy weather is halting summer crop harvesting and winter wheat planting in the middle Mississippi and lower Ohio Valleys. Fieldwork is already behind schedule in the eastern Corn Belt due to a combination of late-developing crops and recent wetness.
On the Plains, sharply colder weather prevails in the wake of a cold front’s passage. However, the front provided little or no moisture to the southern Plains’ winter wheat production areas, leaving the emerging crop in need of moisture. On October 16 in Texas, both winter wheat planting (52% complete) and emergence (19%) lagged the 5-year averages (72 and 46%, respectively) by at least 20 percentage points.
In the South, tropical moisture associated with a disorganized low-pressure system over the Gulf of Mexico continues to stream across southern Florida, generating heavy rain. Meanwhile, rain is also spreading into the lower Mississippi Valley, slowing the previously rapid fieldwork pace. During the week ending October 16, Arkansas led the nation with 30% of its cotton harvested (56% harvested overall).
In the West, warm, dry weather is promoting fieldwork, including cotton harvesting in Arizona and California and late-season winter wheat planting in the Northwest.
Two storm systems, one currently moving across the Mid-South and the other over the Gulf of Mexico, will converge at mid-week on the eastern U.S.
Rain associated with the Gulf storm will be heaviest along the Atlantic Seaboard, where 1 to 2 inches can be expected. Locally much heavier rain will persist through Wednesday across Florida’s peninsula. Meanwhile, a separate area of heavy rain (1 to 3 inches) will lift northward from the Ohio Valley into the Great Lakes region.
Some of the coldest air of the season will trail the twin storms, with mid- to late-week freezes expected across the northern and central Plains and much of the Midwest.
In contrast, a mild, dry weather pattern will prevail through week’s end in the West.
Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for above-normal temperatures from the Pacific Coast to the Plains, while cooler-than-normal weather will prevail in the Southeast. Meanwhile, below-normal precipitation across the majority of the U.S. will contrast with wetter-than-normal conditions from the Great Lakes region into northern New England.