USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility on the Plains, cool weather lingers in the wake of a departing storm. On the High Plains, where the cold weather is aiding cotton defoliation efforts, freezes were noted this morning as far south as Lubbock, Texas. Pastures and winter grains are benefiting from recent topsoil moisture improvements, particularly on the central and southern High Plains.
In the West, chilly weather persists across the central and southern Rockies, but warmer-than-normal conditions have returned to the Pacific Coast States. Meanwhile, a few showers are overspreading the Pacific Northwest. The Western cotton harvest is proceeding ahead of schedule, while California's rice harvest — albeit behind the normal pace — has passed the halfway mark.
In the Corn Belt, cool, dry weather favors autumn fieldwork. Nearly all of the Corn Belt noted temperatures of 32°F or lower this morning, ending the growing season in areas that had not yet had experienced a freeze.
In the South, a batch of rain stretches from the Tennessee Valley southward to the central Gulf Coast. A separate area of rain is developing across Florida's peninsula. In contrast, producers are taking advantage of a final day of warm weather across the lower Southeast to plant winter wheat and harvest summer crops.
USDA's outlook says an early-season snow storm will unfold tonight and Saturday from the northern Mid-Atlantic region into coastal New England. One of the storm’s primary threats will be power outages, in part due to heavy snow toppling trees that have not lost their leaves. Storm-total snowfall could reach 4 to 12 inches from north-central Maryland into southern and eastern Maine. Farther south, Florida’s peninsula could receive 1 to 3 inches of rain. In the storm’s wake, generally tranquil weather will accompany a gradual warming trend. Temperatures will rebound to above-normal levels from the Pacific Coast to the Plains, but fall again early next week across the northern Plains and the Northwest. Widespread but light precipitation will accompany the new surge of cold air.