December-like temperatures ahead for the Corn Belt

December-like temperatures ahead for the Corn Belt

Across the Corn Belt, cold, dry, breezy weather prevails, aside from snow showers near the Great Lakes. However, wet fields continue to hamper harvest activities in some areas; the nation’s soybean harvest, 83% complete by November 4, remains the slowest since 2009, when only 61% of the crop had been harvested on that date.

On the Plains, patchy snow accompanies a surge of very cold air into Montana and the Dakotas, where Wednesday morning’s temperatures fell below 10° in many locations. Cold weather also covers the remainder of the Plains, slowing the emergence of recently planted winter wheat. In addition, wetness continues to plague portion of the southern Plains, where topsoil moisture was rated 34% surplus in Texas on November 4.

In the South, locally heavy showers are returning to areas from northeastern Texas to the northern Mississippi Delta. On November 4, prior to this latest rainfall, topsoil moisture was already rated at least 40% surplus in Louisiana (56% surplus), Arkansas (48%), and Tennessee (41%).

In the West, dry weather prevails, except for some snow in the northern Rockies. However, warmth from California into the Desert Southwest contrasts with chilly conditions in the Rockies. California’s warm, dry weather favors fieldwork, including cotton harvesting, but is leading to an increased threat of wildfires in the northern part of the state—in part due to gusty winds and low humidity levels.

Cold conditions will persist through week’s end, except for lingering warmth in California and southern Florida. Late in the week, a developing storm system will produce widespread precipitation across the southern and eastern U.S., with storm totals reaching 1 to 2 inches or more in many locations. Meanwhile, mid- to late-week snow accumulations can be expected from the central Plains into portions of the Great Lakes region and northern New England. Elsewhere, dry weather will prevail during the next 5 days in most areas west of the Rockies, while a Santa Ana wind event in California could favor wildfire development and expansion.

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook indicates that much colder-than-normal conditions will cover the central and eastern U.S., while above-normal temperatures will be limited to the Far West. Meanwhile, wetter-than-normal weather in southern Texas and the Atlantic Coast States will contrast with near- or below-normal precipitation across the remainder of the country.

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