USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility says on the Plains, cold weather in Montana contrasts with warm, dry weather farther south. "A few rain showers are occurring along the leading edge of colder air, from North Dakota into Wyoming," USDA continues. Winter wheat continues to struggle to emerge in several drought-affected states, including South Dakota (13% emerged on Oct. 21 versus the five-year average of 80%), Montana (36% vs. 67%), and Nebraska (58% vs. 87%), according to USDA.
In the West, USDA says warm, dry weather is promoting fieldwork from southern California into the Southwest. "In contrast, unsettled weather in the Northwest continues to benefit rangeland, pastures and winter wheat," USDA explains.
In the Corn Belt, USDA says showers are slowing fieldwork but further easing drought. "Still, the U.S. corn harvest — 87% complete by Oct. 21 — remains at a record-setting pace," USDA reports. Due to rain-related planting delays, less than one-quarter (22%) of Ohio's winter wheat had emerged by Oct. 21, compared to the five-year average of 40%, USDA elaborates.
In the South, USDA says very warm, dry weather favors fieldwork, including winter wheat planting and cotton, peanut, and soybean harvesting.
In its outlook, USDA says a developing storm over the northern Plains will lift northeastward into central Canada by mid-week. "Rainfall associated with the storm could reach 1 to 2 inches in parts of the Midwest, while generally light precipitation — including some snow showers — will occur across the northern Plains," USDA explains. Farther west, snow will blanket higher peaks from the Cascades and Sierra Nevada to the northern Intermountain West, USDA reports. "On Oct. 24- 25, accumulating snow will spread as far east as the High Plains, particularly across western Nebraska," USDA continues. Meanwhile, USDA says Tropical Storm Sandy will drift northward across Cuba before becoming a strong extratropical cyclone over the western Atlantic Ocean. "Although Sandy’s exact track is uncertain, the storm has the potential to become a high-impact event — with heavy rain and high winds — across the northeastern U.S. early next week," according to USDa.