Across the Corn Belt, cool, breezy conditions across much of the region contrast with mild weather south and west of the Missouri River. Corn and soybean harvest efforts are nearing completion, except in the eastern Corn Belt.
On the Plains, dry weather accompanies record-setting warmth across the southern half of the region, where Friday high temperatures will again approach 90°. Meanwhile, cooler air is edging into Montana and the Dakotas. Winter wheat continues to struggle to emerge and become established across parts of the High Plains, with a significant portion of the crop rated very poor to poor in South Dakota (61%) and Nebraska (49%).
In the South, warmer air is expanding eastward through the Gulf Coast States. Dry weather favors fieldwork, including winter wheat planting and cotton, peanut, and soybean harvesting. Producers in the southern Mid-Atlantic region are assessing the effects of Sandy's wind and rain on crops, including open-boll cotton.
In the West, mild, dry weather prevails, except for a few showers in the northern Rockies and Pacific Northwest. Northwestern winter grains are benefiting from late-season warmth and recent soil moisture improvements.
Cool, cloudy, breezy weather will continue to hamper storm recovery efforts in the Northeast, although shower activity will diminish during the weekend. Elsewhere, a fairly benign weather pattern will continue into early next week, with mild, dry weather expected from California to the High Plains. Shower activity will gradually increase in coverage during the weekend and early next week from the eastern Plains into the Southeast, although amounts will be generally light. Meanwhile, sporadic precipitation will continue in the Pacific Northwest.
Computer models are suggesting with increasing confidence that a significant "nor'easter" will develop by the middle of next week near the Mid-Atlantic coast and move northward. Fragile coastal areas already damaged by Hurricane Sandy may endure another round of high winds, heavy rain, and pounding surf.
Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for near- to above-normal temperatures nationwide, except for cooler-than-normal conditions in parts of the Atlantic Coast States. Near- to below-normal precipitation in the Pacific Coast States and across the southern half of the U.S. will contrast with wetter-than-normal weather from the northern Plains into the Northeast.