Milder weather ahead for the Corn Belt

Milder weather ahead for the Corn Belt

Across the Corn Belt, cold, mostly dry weather prevails. Friday morning’s minimum temperatures dipped below 10° as far south as central Illinois and plunged below 0° in parts of the upper Midwest. In areas where soils have sufficiently frozen, producers are making slow progress on late-season corn and soybean harvesting. By December 2, the corn harvest was 95% complete in South Dakota and 88% complete in North Dakota.

On the Plains, rain has developed across much of Texas, curtailing late-season harvest efforts. Meanwhile, cold but dry weather covers the northern and central Plains. Pockets of sub-zero temperatures occurred early Friday on the northern Plains. In South Dakota, 18% of the sunflowers remained in the field on December 2, along with 5% of the sorghum.

In the South, rain stretches from eastern Texas to the southern Appalachians, resulting in another round of fieldwork delays. Amid frequent autumn storms, producers have struggled to complete winter wheat planting and summer crop harvesting. An exception to the wetness includes southern Florida; on December 2, Florida’s statewide topsoil moisture was rated 34% very short to short.

In the West, showers linger in the lower Colorado Valley and environs. In Arizona, the rain is slowing cotton harvesting and other late-autumn fieldwork. Meanwhile, dry weather has returned across much of California. Dry weather also prevails in the Northwest, where high-elevation snowpack is significantly below average.

A slow-moving storm crossing the South will produce widespread precipitation (rain, freezing rain, sleet, and snow) from the southernmost Rockies into the Southeast. Flooding may occur, starting later Friday, in the western Gulf Coast region, where storm-total rainfall could reach 2 to 6 inches or more. Heavy rain will also soak the lower Mississippi Valley and much of the Southeast. Meanwhile, wintry precipitation could cause travel and electrical disruptions from southern sections of the Rockies and Plains into the southern Appalachians. By early next week, precipitation will return across the Pacific Northwest, while the remainder of the northern and western U.S. will experience dry weather and a warming trend.

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for near- or above-normal temperatures and precipitation nearly nationwide. Colder-than-normal conditions will be limited to the Intermountain West, while drier-than-normal weather should be restricted to the northern Plains.

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