Chilly across the Corn Belt; milder on the Plains
Across the Corn Belt, dry weather accompanies a slow warming trend. Wet field conditions in parts of the southern and eastern Corn Belt are slowing winter wheat planting, which (at the end of October) ranged from 63% complete in Missouri to 80% in Ohio. Lower Midwestern wetness is also hampering late-season corn and soybean harvest efforts.
On the Plains, above-normal temperatures are promoting some additional winter wheat development in areas with adequate soil moisture, following the recent cold spell. On the High Plains, Thursday’s high temperatures should approach 70°F as far north as eastern Montana. However, dryness remains a concern with respect to winter wheat establishment in several areas, including parts of Montana and the central and southern High Plains. On October 31, Montana led the Plains in topsoil moisture rated very short to short (96%), followed by Colorado (66%) and Texas (54%).
In the South, Freeze Warnings were in effect early Thursday as far south as Arkansas. Despite the chilly weather across the interior Southeast, previously delayed harvest activities are advancing. Meanwhile, cloudiness broadly covers the Gulf and Atlantic Coast States, although rain showers are mostly limited to the southern tip of Texas and an area stretching from Alabama to the Carolinas.
In the West, showers are spreading inland across the Pacific Northwest in advance of an approaching storm system. High winds are occurring in some coastal locations. Across the remainder of the West, mild, dry weather favors autumn fieldwork, including cotton harvesting in California and Arizona. Thursday’s high temperatures will reach 90°F in parts of the Desert Southwest.