Across the Corn Belt, snowy, windy conditions are overspreading the far upper Midwest, including the Red River Valley of the North. Meanwhile, sharply colder air has arrived from the Mississippi River westward. In advance of the blast of cold air, showers and a few thunderstorms stretch from the Great Lakes region southward into the lower Ohio Valley.
On the Plains, Freeze Warnings were in effect for Friday morning from Nebraska to the northern panhandle of Texas. Meanwhile, a winterlike storm is pounding the Dakotas and environs with wind-driven snow. A blizzard warning has been posted for parts of North Dakota.
Storm-related agricultural concerns include livestock stress; harvest delays for crops such as sunflowers and sugar beets; and possible adverse impacts (e.g., freeze damage, cornstalk breakage) on immature summer crops.
In the South, showers and thunderstorms are occurring in the vicinity of a cold front stretching from the lower Ohio Valley into the western Gulf Coast region. Meanwhile, short-term drought continues to intensify across much of the Southeast, favoring autumn fieldwork but leaving little moisture for newly planted winter grains and cover crops.
In the West, the greatest threat of wildfires has shifted into Southern California, where windy conditions accompany extremely low humidity levels. Meanwhile, cold weather is slowing the emergence and growth of recently planted Northwestern winter grains. Elsewhere, freeze warnings were in effect early Friday in parts of the Southwest.
A nearly stationary storm system will affect the north-central U.S. through Saturday. In parts of the Dakotas, storm-total snowfall could reach 1 to 3 feet and winds may gust between 40 and 60 mph, leading to blizzard conditions, travel disruptions, an indefinite cessation of fieldwork, and severe stress on livestock.
Cold air will continue to drive southward in the storm’s wake, resulting in growing season-ending freezes roughly along and northwest of a line from northern Texas to Lake Michigan. Meanwhile, rain and gusty winds in coastal New England could linger through the weekend.
In contrast, mostly dry weather will prevail during the next five days across the remainder of the East, excluding Florida’s peninsula, as well as much of the Southwest and Far West. By early next week, lingering cold conditions will be confined to the North, from the Pacific Northwest into the Great Lakes region.
Looking ahead, the six- to 10-day outlook for Oct. 16-20 calls for near- or below-normal temperatures nationwide, except for warmer-than-normal weather in Maine, the Four Corners States, the southern High Plains, and along the Gulf Coast. Meanwhile, near- or above-normal precipitation across most of the country should contrast with drier-than-normal conditions from southern sections of the Rockies and High Plains into the upper Midwest.