Across the Corn Belt, windy, showery weather is maintaining soggy conditions and keeping fieldwork at a standstill in most areas from the Mississippi Valley westward. As of October 20, the corn harvest lags the 5-year average by more than 30 percentage points in Illinois (36 percent complete), while the soybean harvest remains more than 40 percentage points behind the 5-year average in the upper Midwest according to USDA-NASS.
On the Plains, breezy, cooler, drier conditions are settling over the region following the passage of a strong cold front. Dryness concerns are increasing across the central High Plains for winter wheat establishment, in contrast to recent heavy precipitation and locally saturated soils in northern- and southern-most portions of the region.
In the South, showers and thunderstorms associated with a strong cold front are providing additional much-needed drought relief from the eastern Gulf Coast into the Carolinas. Recent rains have been heaviest (locally more than 4 inches) across southern Georgia, while northern Georgia’s extreme drought areas have largely missed the lion’s share of rainfall.
In the West, outside of a few showers in the Northwest, dry, warm weather prevails. There remains an elevated risk of wildfires along the southern third of the California Coast.
A large storm system currently spinning over the upper Midwest will drift east, maintaining windy, unsettled conditions from the northern Corn Belt into the New England. An attendant cold front will sweep across the Atlantic Coast States, accompanied by locally heavy showers, with severe weather possible in the eastern Carolinas as the front passes. Meanwhile, a disturbance in the Pacific Northwest and its associated cold front will race east and weaken, but not before touching off some rain and snow over northern portions of the Rockies and Great Plains. By Thursday, this disturbance and cold front will approach the Mississippi Valley and begin to stall, which could renew the possibility of heavy rain over the Gulf Coast and Southeastern States by week’s end. Conversely, dry weather is expected from California to the southern Plains.
Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for below-normal temperatures from the Pacific Coast to the Mississippi Valley, with warmer-than-normal conditions limited to the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic. Meanwhile, above-normal precipitation east of the Rockies should contrast with drier-than-normal conditions in much of the West.