Weather report: Mild and dry on the Plains

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In the West, warm, dry weather prevails in advance of a strong cold front. In the Northwest, however, much cooler weather accompanies scattered showers. The Northwestern rain is slowing fieldwork but aiding newly planted winter wheat.

On the Plains, mild, dry weather favors summer crop maturation and fieldwork, including winter wheat planting. On September 22, Montana and Nebraska led the nation’s mid-section with winter wheat planting 49% complete. Hard red winter wheat planting was least advanced in Kansas (13% complete).

In the Corn Belt, a few light rain showers are mainly confined to the middle Missouri Valley. Elsewhere, dry weather and a slow warming trend are promoting summer crop maturation. On September 22, Midwestern corn maturity ranged from 17% in Minnesota to 57% in Missouri.

In the South, locally heavy showers are developing in the Mississippi Delta, where cotton bolls open on September 22 ranged from 16% in Missouri to 88% in Louisiana. Heavy showers are also soaking parts of Florida, but mostly dry weather across the remainder of the region favors crop maturation and harvesting.

Outlook: The coldest air of the season will overspread the West during the next few days, but autumn warmth will prevail farther east—in advance of a strong cold front. Precipitation will accompany the transition to cold weather in the Northwest, with significant, mid-week snow expected in parts of the northern Rockies. Late in the week, widespread precipitation will develop across the nation’s mid-section, with 1- to 2-inch rainfall totals expected from Texas into the upper Midwest. Meanwhile, up to an inch of rain will fall in the Southeast, except for 1- to 3-inch totals across Florida’s peninsula. In contrast, little or no precipitation will occur in the Northeast and Southwest. The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for September 29 – October 3 calls for near- to above-normal temperatures and near- to below-normal precipitation across the majority of the U.S. Warmth will be most likely in parts of the Southwest and across the nation’s northern tier, while wet weather will be confined to the southern tip of Florida, the MidAtlantic coastal plain, and the Pacific Northwest.

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