A significant outbreak of late-season severe thunderstorms rapidly moved through central Illinois on Sunday, November 17.
The November 2013 Drought Outlook is based on initial conditions, short and medium range forecasts, updated monthly outlooks for temperature and precipitation, and climatology.
During late October, heavy rains ahead of a slow moving cold front fell across parts of south-central and southeastern Texas, causing localized flooding in Austin and regions just to the southwest. Widespread rainfall associated with the same storm system also overspread eastern Kansas, Missouri, southern Iowa, and northern Illinois, with accumulations of an inch or greater observed. Additional rainfall in these areas are expected during the first week of November, as ridging builds over the Southeast, promoting slow frontal passages as new mid-latitude storms develop across the Mississippi Valley. Therefore, drought improvement or removal is anticipated across south central and eastern Texas and along the middle and lower Mississippi Valley.
Further east, the ridging over the Southeast is forecast to prevent significant rainfall from reaching the Atlantic coast. Drought development is possible across parts of the Southeast, especially along the Savannah River basin, where 30-day percent of normal precipitation values are particularly low. Drought has also expanded across parts of the Northeast, and without a clear signal for wetness during the first half of November, persistence is anticipated. Uncertainty increases towards the end of the month, as coastal winter storms become more likely.
November is a climatologically dry time of year across the Plains and intermountain West, making drought persistence most probable.
Winter storm activity increases across the Pacific Northwest during late autumn, but sufficient precipitation to overcome current drought conditions is not likely to occur until later in the winter season, especially across California.
The National Weather Service’s winter season outlook for December 2013 through February 2014 indicates equal chances of above, near or below normal temperatures and precipitation for much of the Midwest including all of central Iowa.
In other words, there is no climate indicator that favors one category versus the others for both temperature and precipitation.
Across the Corn Belt, mild air is replacing the coldest air of the season. Dry weather favors fieldwork, including late-season corn harvesting.
On the Plains, mostly dry weather accompanies mild conditions. On the southern Plains, the peanut harvest is nearing completion, while harvest activities are ongoing for cotton and sorghum. In the Dakotas, the delayed sunflower harvest is proceeding. Hard red winter wheat had mostly emerged by November 10, with the portion of the crop rated good to excellent ranging from 43% in Texas to 73% in South Dakota.
In the South, Freeze Warnings were in effect early Thursday from the lower Mississippi Valley into Georgia and northernmost Florida. However, dry weather is promoting winter wheat planting and summer crop harvesting. On November 10 in North Carolina, winter wheat was 53% planted, while harvesting was 98% complete for peanuts, 44% complete for cotton, and 29% complete for soybeans.
In the West, mild, dry weather continues to promote autumn fieldwork. Cloudiness is increasing across the Northwest, where winter wheat remains mostly in good to excellent condition.
No organized or new areas of active fire weather threats are expected forThursday.
For Thursday, no organized areas of severe thunderstorms are expected across the Nation.
However, scattered thunderstorms (below severe limits) are likely this weekend from the southern Plains, northeastward into the Ohio Valley and parts of the eastern U.S.
During the previous 30 days, below average rainfall was observed along most of the eastern seaboard and the Appalachians, promoting the expansion of abnormal dryness across the Northeast and parts of the southern Atlantic coastal plain. In contrast, several days of heavy rainfall over the Chesapeake watershed associated with a slow moving coastal storm caused localized flooding. Heavy rainfall also fell across much of Texas, the lower Mississippi Valley, and the Ohio Valley, resulting in drought improvement. Wet weather across the northwestern quadrant of the continental U.S. contrasted with mostly dry weather over the Southwest.
Additional short term drought improvement is possible for eastern and central Texas as a slow moving front brings additional widespread rainfall, although an anticipated seasonal tilt towards abnormal dryness supports drought persistence over the remainder of the Southern Plains.
Drought development is possible across much of the Southwest, while seasonable winter wetness may bring some relief to coastal California and the northern Rockies. Late fall and winter is climatologically dry across the Plains and Midwest, making significant improvements of lingering drought less likely. Incipient dryness across parts of the southern Atlantic coastal plain and enhanced chances of below median precipitation during the November through January period raise the potential for drought development.
Across the Corn Belt, mild weather is returning to the upper Midwest, but cold conditions linger elsewhere. By November 10, more than one-third of the corn remained in the field in North Dakota (64% harvested), Michigan (62%), and Wisconsin (62%).
On the Plains, temperatures are starting to rebound in the wake of the recent cold snap. Still, Wednesday morning’s temperatures dipped below 20° as far south as Oklahoma. Later Wednesday, however, readings above 70° can be expected as far north as the central High Plains.
In the South, Freeze Warnings were in effect early Wednesday from central Texas to northern Florida. Although the cold conditions have ended the growing season in nearly all areas except along the immediate Gulf Coast and southern sections of Florida and Texas, dry weather is promoting fieldwork.
In the West, isolated rain and snow showers are confined to the Pacific Northwest and the northern Rockies. California’s cotton harvest is nearing completion, while Arizona’s cotton harvest reached the halfway point on November 10. Northwestern winter wheat is faring well, with the majority of the crop rated good to excellent on November 10 in Idaho (90%), Washington (75%), Oregon (67%), and California (65%).
Across the Corn Belt, dry weather accompanies a warming trend. However, some fields remain too wet—in the wake of recent rainfall—for harvest and planting activities to resume. On November 3, Midwestern winter wheat planting ranged from 64% complete in Missouri to 97% complete in Michigan and Ohio.
On the Plains, sudden warmth is promoting winter wheat growth, as well as melting any remaining snow (in Nebraska and South Dakota). Meanwhile, a few rain showers area developing on the northern Plains. Farther south, however, dry, breezy conditions are increasing stress on winter wheat across the southern High Plains. Friday’s high temperatures will approach 70° as far north as western Nebraska.
In the South, cool, dry weather favors fieldwork, including winter wheat planting and cotton, peanut, and soybean harvesting. Cloudiness and a few sprinkles linger across Florida’s peninsula.
In the West, rain and snow showers linger from the Pacific Northwest to the northern Rockies. Elsewhere, mild, dry weather continues to favor fieldwork, including cotton harvesting in California and Arizona.
Across the Corn Belt, cool, dry weather prevails, except for snow showers downwind of Lake Superior. However, fieldwork delays persist in the wake of recent rainfall. Substantial corn remains to be harvested in the northern Corn Belt, with at least half of the crop still in the field by November 3 in Michigan, North Dakota, and Wisconsin.
On the Plains, dry weather is promoting fieldwork in many areas, although snow remains on the ground in parts of South Dakota and Nebraska. Across the northern and central Plains, temperatures are rebounding to near- or above-normal levels, fostering winter wheat growth. However, Freeze Warnings and Frost Advisories were in effect early Thursday on the southern Plains, where cool conditions linger. In addition, soil moisture shortages remain a concern with respect to winter wheat establishment on the southern High Plains.
In the South, scattered showers are causing minor fieldwork delays from the Appalachians to the Atlantic Coast. Cool, dry air is arriving west of the Appalachians. Freeze warnings are in effect early today in parts of northern and western Arkansas.
In the West, stormy weather is overspreading areas from the Pacific Northwest to the northern Rockies. Across the remainder of the region, from California to the Four Corners States, mild, dry weather favors fieldwork.