Across the Corn Belt, showers are slowing fieldwork but further easing drought. Still, the U.S. corn harvest—87% complete by October 21—remains at a record-setting pace. Due to rain-related planting delays, less than one-quarter (22%) of Ohio’s winter wheat had emerged by October 21, compared to the 5-year average of 40%.
On the Plains, cold weather in Montana contrasts with warm, dry weather farther south. A few rain showers are occurring along the leading edge of colder air, from North Dakota into Wyoming. Winter wheat continues to struggle to emerge in several drought-affected states, including South Dakota (13% emerged on October 21 versus the 5-year average of 80%), Montana (36 vs. 67%), and Nebraska (58 vs. 87%).
In the South, very warm, dry weather favors fieldwork, including winter wheat planting and cotton, peanut, and soybean harvesting.
In the West, warm, dry weather is promoting fieldwork from southern California into the Southwest. In contrast, unsettled weather in the Northwest continues to benefit rangeland, pastures, and winter wheat.
A developing storm over the northern Plains will lift northeastward into central Canada by mid-week. Rainfall associated with the storm could reach 1 to 2 inches in parts of the Midwest, while generally light precipitation—including some snow showers—will occur across the northern Plains. Farther west, snow will blanket higher peaks from the Cascades and Sierra Nevada to the northern Intermountain West. On October 24- 25, accumulating snow will spread as far east as the High Plains, particularly across western Nebraska.
Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Sandy will drift northward across Cuba before becoming a strong extra-tropical cyclone over the western Atlantic Ocean. Although Sandy’s exact track is uncertain, the storm has the potential to become a high-impact event—with heavy rain and high winds—across the northeastern U.S. early next week.
Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for above-normal temperatures in the West and coastal New England, while cooler-than-normal conditions will prevail in most areas from the Plains to the East Coast. Meanwhile, drier-than-normal weather from California to the Plains and lower and middle Mississippi Valley will contrast with wetter-than-normal weather in the Northeast and Northwest.