Weather report: Cool and dry in the Corn Belt

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In the West, late-season warmth continues to promote fieldwork, including cotton harvesting in California and Arizona. In addition, Northwestern winter grains are benefiting from mild, dry weather, following abundant September rainfall and an extended cool spell. Meanwhile, showers in New Mexico are providing some relief from moderate to extreme drought.

On the Plains, temperatures are rebounding to above-normal levels across the northwestern half of the region. The Plains’ sudden warmth is beneficial for winter wheat, which by October 20 had emergence ranging from 42% in Texas to 73% in Colorado and Nebraska.

In the Corn Belt, cool, dry weather prevails, except for a few snow showers downwind of the Great Lakes. Conditions are mostly favorable for corn and soybean harvesting, but lingering drought in the central and southern Corn Belt remains a concern with respect to soft red winter wheat.

In the South, cool, dry weather favors fieldwork, including winter wheat planting and cotton, peanut, and soybean harvesting. The National Weather Service has issued a variety of freeze warnings and frost advisories, in effect early today, across the interior Southeast as far south as northern sections of Alabama and Georgia.

Outlook: Over the weekend, warm, mostly dry weather in the West will contrast with generally chilly conditions across the eastern half of the U.S. However, showers associated with an upper-air disturbance will drift from the southern Rockies into Texas and Oklahoma, while snow and rain showers linger downwind of the Great Lakes. Weekend freezes can be expected as far south as the southern Appalachians and parts of the interior Southeast. Early next week, a developing storm will produce locally heavy snow across northern sections of the Rockies and Plains, while rain will develop from the eastern Plains into the Corn Belt. Moisture from this system will spread slowly east, although the Southeast will remain dry. The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for October 30 – November 3 calls for near- to below-normal temperatures nationwide, except for warmer-than-normal weather across the Deep South and Pacific Northwest. Meanwhile, near- to above-normal precipitation across the majority of the U.S. will contrast with drier-than-normal conditions in the Northwest.

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