An early-month Black Hills blizzard --devastating to livestock-- headlined an active weather pattern across the north-central United States. A storm during the first week of October, affected a multi-state area. Western South Dakota was hit hardest and killed thousands of animals in the higher elevations. An additional two storms in western South Dakota hampered recovery efforts due to heavy rain and more snow.
Farther east, however, Midwestern producers had enough time between storms to harvest nearly half (47 percent) of the United States and about two-thirds (66 percent) of the soybeans during the 4-week period ending October 27. Overall the United States harvest progress by October 27 was 59 percent for corn and 77 percent for soybeans. Toward month's end, the soybean harvest was nearing completion in upper Midwestern States such as Nebraska (94 percent) and Minnesota (91 percent), despite wetter-than-normal October conditions.
Most of the Plains received enough autumn moisture to promote winter wheat emergence and establishment, leading to favorable early-season crop conditions. Nearly two-thirds (61%) of the United States wheat was rated in good to excellent condition on October 27, although pockets of dryness were a concern on the southern High Plains.
Meanwhile, dry weather returned across much of the West during October, following the previous month's exceptional rainfall. Flood recovery efforts proceeded in Colorado, while mild, dry conditions fostered Northwestern winter wheat growth. In addition, dry weather favored fieldwork, including cotton harvesting in California and the Southwest.
Elsewhere, generally dry weather accompanied near- to above-normal temperatures in the Southeastern and North Atlantic States, while a single, slow-moving storm prior to midmonth triggered heavy rain in the Mid-Atlantic region. Southeastern fieldwork included winter wheat planting and cotton, peanut, and soybean harvesting.