Dry weather from South Dakota to Texas left the United States winter wheat conditions at their lowest levels since records of that type were initiated by USDA NASS in 1986. By November 25, more than one-quarter (26%) of the wheat was rated very poor to poor, fueled by abysmal crop ratings in South Dakota (64% very poor to poor), Nebraska (46%), Oklahoma (44%), Texas (40%), Colorado (34%), and Kansas (25%).
In contrast, beneficial precipitation fell across northern California and from the Pacific Northwest to Montana and North Dakota. Still, winter wheat struggled to emerge on the northern Plains due to the seasonal decline in temperatures. By November 25, a significant portion of the wheat had not yet emerged in South Dakota (60% emerged) and Montana (68%).
Toward month's end, precipitation intensity increased across northern California and the Northwest. However, mild weather accompanied the storminess, limiting high-elevation snowfall. As a result, the end-of-month water content of the Sierra Nevada snow pack stood at just 4 inches, about 85% of normal for November 30.
Most areas from the Mississippi Valley to the East Coast experienced a cool, dry November. In the northern Mid-Atlantic region, dry weather aided recovery efforts from Hurricane Sandy. Farther south, mostly dry conditions promoted Southeastern fieldwork-including winter wheat planting and cotton and soybean harvesting-but caused renewed drought intensification in Alabama and the southern Atlantic States.
Monthly temperatures averaged more than 5 degrees Fahrenheit below normal in portions of the southern Atlantic region, but generally ranged from 5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit above normal across the central and southern High Plains and adjacent areas of the Intermountain West.
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