Despite heat, crop development behind pace

Despite heat, crop development behind pace

Across the Corn Belt, a cold front—accompanied by rain—extends southward from the upper Great Lakes region. Despite ideal weather in recent days, Midwestern corn development remains well behind the normal pace. On September 24, just over half (51%) of the U.S. corn crop was mature, 13 percentage points behind the 5-year average. Progress was at least 20 points behind average in Illinois, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

On the Plains, cool, dry air is overspreading the northern half of the region, following the latest round of drought-easing rainfall. Locally heavy showers linger, however, across the southern Plains, boosting soil moisture for recently planted winter wheat but raising concerns about the quality of open-boll cotton.

In the South, heavy surf and gusty winds continue along the southern Mid-Atlantic coast in conjunction with Hurricane Maria, centered 190 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, at 7 am CDT Tuesday morning. Maria, drifting northward at 7 mph, is barely a hurricane, with sustained winds near 75 mph mainly southeast of the center. Elsewhere, warm, dry weather prevails, except for showers in southern Florida.

In the West, warmth has returned to portions of the Pacific Coast States, but cool conditions linger farther inland. On September 24, Washington led the U.S. with 53% of its intended winter wheat acreage planted.

Maria should make its closest approach to North Carolina’s Outer Banks by midweek before veering out to sea. Tropical storm-force winds (39 mph or greater) will be limited to immediate Mid-Atlantic coastal areas. Meanwhile, the primary focus for heavy rain will include southern portions of the Rockies and Plains, where 5-day totals of 2 to 6 inches or more could cause flooding—especially in the middle Rio Grande Valley. Farther north, a late-season heat wave will end after mid-week across the Midwest and East, although mostly dry weather should persist. Aside from the south-central U.S., precipitation should be mostly limited to southern Florida (1 to 3 inches), the Northwest (up to an inch), and the Great Lakes region (one-half inch or less).

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for the likelihood of near- to above-normal temperatures nationwide, except for cooler-than-normal conditions in the Northwest and southern sections of the Rockies and High Plains. Meanwhile, below-normal rainfall in much of the eastern U.S. and parts of the Southwest will contrast with wetter-than-normal weather across the Plains, Rockies, and Florida’s peninsula.

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