Across the Corn Belt, dry weather and near- or above-normal temperatures prevail in advance of an approaching storm system. On November 17, more than one-half of the corn remained in the field in North Dakota (23% harvested), Michigan (39%), and Wisconsin (44%), while more than one-fifth of the soybeans have not yet been harvested in Michigan (76% harvested) and Wisconsin (77%).
On the Plains, wet snow is falling along and near the Canadian border in Montana and North Dakota. Meanwhile, a final day of warmth across the central and southern Plains is promoting winter wheat development, except in areas where soil moisture is lacking. On November 17, topsoil moisture was rated nearly one-half very short to short in Kansas (47%), Oklahoma (47%), Colorado (44%), and Texas (42%). Currently, isolated showers are developing across western Texas.
In the South, dry weather favors autumn fieldwork, including winter wheat planting and late-season cotton, peanut, and soybean harvesting. Above-normal temperatures prevail from the Delta westward, while cool conditions linger along the Atlantic Coast.
In the West, a major storm system is developing across the Four Corners States. Precipitation, including high-elevation snow, is falling in southern California, parts of the Great Basin, and much of the Southwest. In some drought-affected areas of the Southwest, this represents the first significant precipitation in more than 6 months.
A complex, two-part storm system will emerge from the Southwest during the next several days. Storm-total precipitation through Friday could reach 1 to 3 inches in portions of southern California, the Great Basin, and the Southwest, providing drought relief but possibly resulting in flash flooding and debris flows—especially in areas that have experienced wildfires in recent weeks. Meanwhile, a low-pressure system will cross the Midwest on Thursday and early Friday, delivering rain and wet snow and bringing renewed fieldwork delays. Farther south, another piece of the storm system should result in showers and thunderstorms, starting on Thursday across the southern Plains and shifting into the East during the weekend. Five-day rainfall amounts could total 1 to 2 inches or more in parts of the South. In contrast, mostly dry weather will prevail during the next 5 days in the lower Rio Grande Valley, southern Florida, and from northern California to the northern High Plains.
Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for colder-than-normal conditions in much of the West, while near- or above-normal temperatures will cover the eastern half of the U.S. Meanwhile, wetter-than-normal weather across most of the country should contrast with below-normal rainfall in much of Texas.