In the West, rain and high-elevation snow showers are aiding rangeland and pastures in the Great Basin and the Four Corners States. In contrast, unfavorably dry conditions persist across the interior Northwest, although rain associated with a cold front is beginning to overspread the Pacific Northwest.

On the Plains, a broken line of showers and thunderstorms from eastern New Mexico to southeastern Kansas is slowing fieldwork but benefiting rangeland, pastures, and recently planted winter wheat. Meanwhile, extremely dry conditions are hampering winter wheat emergence across the northwestern half of the Plains. In addition, warm weather is returning to the northern High Plains, where today’s high temperatures will approach 80°F.

In the Corn Belt, cool but dry weather is promoting harvest activities, especially across the upper Midwest. A few readings below 20°F were noted this morning in the northwestern Corn Belt. Winter wheat planting remains slightly behind schedule in the Ohio Valley in the wake of recent rainfall. For example, wheat planting was 19% complete in Ohio by October 7, compared to the 5-year average of 32%.

In the South, showers and thunderstorms are developing in parts of Tennessee and across the Ozark Plateau. Elsewhere, warm, dry weather favors harvest activities and other autumn fieldwork.

Outlook: During the weekend, warmth will quickly expand to cover much of the nation. Early next week, however, cool conditions will return to the eastern one-third of the U.S. Meanwhile, a developing storm over the Southwest will drift northeastward, reaching the Great Lakes region during the weekend. Precipitation will be heaviest from the central and southern Plains into the Great Lakes States, where 1- to 3-inch rainfall totals can be expected. Additional precipitation could reach an inch in the Southwest before precipitation ends on Saturday. Elsewhere, unfavorably dry conditions will persist on the northern Plains, but much-needed precipitation will begin to overspread the Northwest. The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for October 17-21 calls for near- to above-normal temperatures nationwide, except for cooler-than-normal conditions from Washington to North Dakota. Meanwhile, below-normal precipitation across central and southern portions of the Rockies and Plains will contrast with wetter-than-normal weather across the nation’s northern tier and the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys.