Very dry soils dominate the central Plains

Across the Corn Belt, snow squalls cover the upper Great Lakes region, while rain showers are exiting eastern portions of the region. Much of the western Corn Belt remains mired in drought. On November 18, for example, topsoil moisture was rated 95% very short to short in Nebraska and 66% in Iowa. The subsoil moisture situation is even more serious, with 99% rated very short to short in Nebraska and 94% in Iowa.

On the Plains, drought is maintaining severe stress on winter wheat, especially from South Dakota to Texas. In addition, colder weather prevails. Friday morning’s temperatures dipped below 10° in parts of eastern Montana and the western Dakotas. The Plains’ rangeland and pasture conditions have continued to decline in recent weeks; by November 18, very poor to poor ratings included 82% in Colorado, 81% in Kansas; 77% in Oklahoma, 65% in North Dakota, and 49% in Texas.

In the South, a narrow band of rain showers—in conjunction with a cold front—stretches from Tennessee to eastern Texas. In advance of the front, mild, dry weather favors late-autumn fieldwork.

In the West, wet weather is returning to the Pacific Northwest, following a one-day respite. Currently, the heaviest precipitation is falling across western Washington. Elsewhere, mild, dry weather continues to promote late-season fieldwork, including Arizona’s cotton harvest.

During the weekend, a surge of cool air will affect most areas from the Mississippi Valley to the East Coast. A stronger blast of cold air will reach the northern Plains by early next week, spilling into the eastern U.S. by mid-week. Meanwhile, mild weather will continue to dominate the West, with warmth returning to the Plains by the middle of next week.

Significant precipitation will be scarce during the next several days, although 1- to 2-inch totals may occur in southern Texas, the northern Rockies, and the Pacific Northwest.

During the first half of next week, a storm system will produce generally light rain and snow across the eastern half of the U.S.

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook for calls for below-normal temperatures across the eastern one-third of the U.S., while warmer-than-normal conditions will prevail from the Pacific Coast to the central and southern Plains. Meanwhile, near- to below-normal precipitation across the majority of the U.S. will contrast with wetter-than- normal weather in Maine and much of the West.

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