Across the Corn Belt, mild, dry weather is helping to push corn and soybean harvesting toward completion in most areas. Wetness lingers, however, in the eastern Corn Belt, where Ohio’s topsoil moisture was rated 35% surplus on November 1. On the same date, only 41% of Ohio’s corn had been harvested, the lowest percentage among major production states.
On the Plains, a return to warmth and recent topsoil moisture improvements are helping winter wheat become more fully established prior to dormancy. The more favorable conditions follow a cold, mostly dry start to the winter wheat growing season, which has led to the greatest amount of the crop—19%—rated in very poor to poor condition in early November since 2012. Despite the recent precipitation, topsoil moisture was more than 50% very short to short on November 1 in all Plains States, except Oklahoma.
In the South, dry weather accompanies a gradual warming trend. Many Southeastern producers are finally getting an extended opportunity to harvest summer crops such as cotton, peanuts, and soybeans, although localized wet pockets persist. On November 1, topsoil moisture was rated at least 20% surplus in all Southeastern States except Georgia and South Carolina.
In the West, scattered showers are limited to the northern Rockies and the Pacific Northwest. Drought continues to dominate the Western landscape, with rangeland and pastures suffering and soil moisture largely depleted. On November 1, topsoil moisture was rated at least three-quarters very short to short in California, Colorado, New Mexico, Oregon, and Utah. Many Northwestern winter grains need moisture to ensure proper establishment prior to dormancy.
A significant weather pattern change in the West will lead to the arrival of colder weather and an increase in shower activity. By week’s end, rain and snow showers could spread as far south as California, the Great Basin, and the Southwest, although the heaviest precipitation will fall in the northern Rockies and the Pacific Northwest. Meanwhile, warmth will continue to expand eastward, encompassing the central and eastern U.S. for several days. During the weekend, cold, snowy weather may return across the northern Plains, but much of the South, East, and Midwest will remain warm and dry. In the tropics, however, the remnants of Hurricane Eta may contribute to increasingly wet, windy weather in Florida and environs, with heavy rain possible in some areas if the tropical cyclone remains intact after spending several days over Central America.
Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for the likelihood of above-normal temperatures in the western Gulf Coast region and from the Mississippi Valley to the East Coast, while colder-than-normal conditions will prevail from the Pacific Coast to the Plains. Meanwhile, near- or above-normal precipitation across most of the country should contrast with drier-than-normal weather in a small area centered over North Dakota.