USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility says in the Plains, dry weather accompanies record-setting warmth across the southern half of the region, where today's high temperatures will again approach 90°F. "Meanwhile, cooler air is edging into Montana and the Dakotas," USDA adds. Winter wheat continues to struggle to emerge and become established across parts of the High Plains, with a significant portion of the crop rated very poor to poor in South Dakota (61%) and Nebraska (49%), according to USDA.
In the West, USDA says mild, dry weather prevails, except for a few showers in the northern Rockies and Pacific Northwest. "Northwestern winter grains are benefiting from late-season warmth and recent soil moisture improvements," USDA reports.
In the Corn Belt, cool, breezy conditions across much of the region contrast with mild weather south and west of the Missouri River, USDA reports. "Corn and soybean harvest efforts are nearing completion, except in the eastern Corn Belt," USDA continues.
In the South, USDA says warmer air is expanding eastward through the Gulf Coast states. "Dry weather favors fieldwork, including winter wheat planting and cotton, peanut, and soybean harvesting," USDA explains. Producers in the southern Mid- Atlantic region are assessing the effects of Sandy's wind and rain on crops, including open-boll cotton, according to USDA.
In its outlook USDA says during the next few days, cool, cloudy, breezy weather will continue to hamper storm recovery efforts in the Northeast, although shower activity will diminish during the weekend. "Elsewhere, a fairly benign weather pattern will continue into early next week, with mild, dry weather expected from California to the High Plains," USDA explains. Shower activity will gradually increase in coverage during the weekend and early next week from the eastern Plains into the Southeast, although amounts will be generally light, according to USDA. Meanwhile, USDA says sporadic precipitation will continue in the Pacific Northwest. Computer models are suggesting with increasing confidence that a significant "nor'easter" will develop by the middle of next week near the Mid-Atlantic coast and move northward, USDA reports. "Fragile coastal areas already damaged by Hurricane Sandy may endure another round of high winds, heavy rain and pounding surf," USDA reports.