Thanksgiving Day Weather Map
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Across the Corn Belt, cool, dry weather covers the upper Midwest. Meanwhile, widespread rain is falling across the southern and eastern Corn Belt, temporarily curtailing final harvest efforts. On November 22, the corn harvest was 96% complete in Indiana, along with 92% in Wisconsin and 91% in Michigan. On that date, Ohio (87% harvested) was the only Midwestern State with more than one-tenth of its corn still standing.

On the Plains, Tuesday’s thunderstorms resulted in localized wind and hail damage in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. Early Wednesday, dry weather has returned across the central and southern Plains, except for lingering precipitation in eastern Kansas and environs. On November 22, prior to the recent precipitation, topsoil moisture was rated more than one-half very short to short in each of the Plains States except Oklahoma, hampering winter wheat establishment in some areas.

In the South, mild, dry weather in the southern Atlantic States favors late-autumn fieldwork, including winter wheat planting and cotton, peanut, and soybean harvesting. Farther west, however, showers and thunderstorms are sweeping across the lower Mississippi Valley, trailed by cooler air.

In the West, most areas are experiencing dry weather. However, a new Pacific storm system arriving across the Northwest is producing scattered rain and snow showers. Northwestern winter wheat continues to benefit from recent and ongoing topsoil moisture improvements, but very dry conditions persist farther south. On November 22, topsoil moisture was rated at least three-quarters very short to short in Colorado (87%), New Mexico (81%), Utah (75%), and California (75%).

For the remainder of Wednesday, a low-pressure system crossing the middle Mississippi Valley will spark a widespread rain event, with thunderstorms expected along a trailing cold front. By November 26 (Thanksgiving Day), rain will shift into the East, although cloudiness and a few showers will linger across the Deep South. Most of the remainder of the country will experience a mild, dry Thanksgiving, with temperatures remaining below 40° in the Rockies and along the Canadian border—but ranging from 70 to 85° in the Deep South. Late-week freezes may occur, however, in California’s San Joaquin Valley. Late in the weekend and early next week, a surge of cold air will arrive across the Midwest. Meanwhile, heavy rain (locally 2 to 5 inches or more) will develop across the South and begin to spread northward. As cold air and moisture interact, there is the potential for a significant precipitation event in the eastern U.S. and the possibility of snow from the central Appalachians and the lower Great Lakes region into the Northeast.

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for the likelihood of near- or above-normal temperatures throughout the northern and western U.S., while cooler-than-normal conditions will cover the South. Meanwhile, below-normal precipitation in the western and central U.S. should contrast with wetter-than-normal weather in the Atlantic Coast States.

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Greg Soulje, a professional meteorologist since 1985, offers national agricultural weather forecasts via "This Week in Agribusiness."

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