Mild, unseasonably warm weather covers the Heartland

Across the Corn Belt, late-season warmth continues to promote corn and soybean maturation, as well as germination of newly planted winter wheat. In the western Corn Belt, Friday’s high temperatures will reach 80°F as far north as eastern South Dakota and southwestern Minnesota. However, scattered showers from the Mississippi Valley eastward are causing minor corn and soybean harvest delays.

On the Plains, unusual warmth persists. In fact, Friday’s high temperatures could reach 95°F or higher on the southern Plains. The summer-like heat favors summer crop maturation and harvesting, but is reducing moisture availability for rangeland, pastures, and recently planted winter wheat. As recently as August 1, nearly two-thirds (66%) of Oklahoma’s rangeland and pastures were rated in good to excellent condition; by October 3, that value was 33%.

In the South, locally heavy showers linger in the southern Atlantic States. Early Friday, pockets of flooding are occurring from south-central Georgia to the western Carolinas. In contrast, hot, dry weather favors crop maturation and harvesting from the western Gulf Coast region to the Mississippi Delta. On October 3, the U.S. rice harvest was 73% complete (3 percentage points behind the 5-year average), with statewide progress ranging from 54% in Missouri to 99% in Texas.

In the West, cool, unsettled weather prevails. Rain showers are affecting several areas, including central and southern California and the Pacific Northwest. Snow is falling at some high-elevation sites across the Intermountain West.

  • Is it “unseasonable” if this is the new normal? What climate should we compare the weather of today with? The climate of last century, right now, or the average expected for this century. Under the last metric, current temperatures might be considered unseasonably cool.

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