In the West, mild, wet weather persists from the Pacific Northwest to the northern Rockies, with additional flooding possible in some areas. Northwestern winter wheat is faring reasonably well, with 70% of the crop rated good to excellent in Idaho, 57% in Washington, and 39% in Oregon. Elsewhere, mild, dry weather favors late-season fieldwork, including cotton harvesting (55% complete on November 18) in Arizona.

On the Plains, dry weather accompanies record-setting high temperatures, maintaining severe stress on hard red winter wheat from South Dakota to Texas. Today’s high temperatures will exceed 70°F as far north as western South Dakota. Little more than half (53%) of South Dakota’s wheat had emerged by November 18.

In the Corn Belt, mild, dry weather is promoting final harvest efforts. For example, corn harvest progress by November 18 was 93% complete in Michigan and 90% complete in Ohio. On the same date in 2011, corn harvest progress had reached only 80% in Michigan and 64% in Ohio.

In the South, cool conditions linger along the southern Atlantic Coast. Elsewhere, dry, warmer conditions favor late-season fieldwork, including winter wheat planting and cotton and soybean harvesting.

Outlook: Mild weather will continue to dominate the U.S. through Thanksgiving Day, November 22. Late in the week, however, cooler air will rapidly overspread the eastern half of the nation. By early next week, a stronger surge of cold air will reach nearly all areas except California and the Southwest. During the next 5 days, additional precipitation could reach 1 to 3 inches in the Pacific Northwest and ½ to 2 inches in the northern Rockies. However, a brief lull in Northwestern storminess will occur on Thanksgiving Day. Elsewhere, late-week snow showers will affect the nation’s northern tier and the Appalachians, while rain showers will break out from Texas into the middle Mississippi Valley and quickly spread eastward before dissipating. The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for November 26-30 calls for wetter-than-normal conditions in much of the East, particularly the Appalachians. Above-normal precipitation is also expected in the Pacific Northwest and on the central and northern High Plains. Drier conditions are anticipated across the Southwest, including Texas and southern California, as well as southern Florida and parts of the middle Mississippi Valley. Below-normal temperatures are forecast from the Great Plains to the Eastern Seaboard, with unseasonably warmer weather confined to the Southwest.