Weather report: Mild on the Plains ahead of approaching storm

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In the West, a Pacific storm is producing widespread precipitation as far east as the northern Rockies and as far south as the Sierra Nevada. Snow levels are initially very high with this storm, with snow mostly confined to the northern Rockies and the highest peaks of the Cascades and Sierra Nevada. Farther south, the cotton harvest is nearing completion in California (97% complete on November 17) and advancing in Arizona (55%).

On the Plains, mild, dry weather prevails in advance of an approaching storm system. The late-season warmth favors fieldwork and winter wheat development. On November 17, the sunflower harvest was nearly two-thirds complete in the Dakotas. Farther south, harvest activities are ongoing for crops such as cotton (nationally, 68% complete on November 17) and sorghum (nationally, 91% complete).

In the Corn Belt, dry weather is promoting late-season harvest efforts, where field conditions permit. Recovery efforts are ongoing in areas affected by last Sunday’s severe weather outbreak. USDA/NASS reports that “several [Illinois] farmers lost equipment, buildings, and homes in the eastern part of the state” and that “wind damage to standing corn was reported in many [Indiana] counties.”

In the South, cool, dry weather favors autumn fieldwork. In North Carolina, more than three-quarters (76%) of the winter wheat was planted by November 17, while the soybean harvest had reached the halfway mark.

Outlook: A developing storm over the western U.S. will emerge across the Great Plains by Thursday. By week’s end, the storm will move northeastward into eastern Canada. Storm-total precipitation could reach 2 to 5 inches from the southeastern Plains into the mid-Mississippi Valley, while 1- to 2-inch amounts can be expected in northern California and parts of the Southwest. In addition, significant snow can be expected on November 21 in parts of Nebraska and neighboring states. Very cold air will trail the storm, with readings below 0°F possible on November 22-23 as far south as western Nebraska. The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for November 24-28 calls for near- to below-normal temperatures across the majority of the country, while warmer-than-normal weather will be confined to the Far West. Meanwhile, above-normal precipitation across the southern and eastern U.S. will contrast with drier-than-normal conditions from the Pacific Coast into the Midwest.

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