Weather report: Rain helps ease drought on the Plains, Corn Belt

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In the West, cold, mostly dry weather prevails, although patches of light precipitation linger across the northern Rockies and northern Intermountain region. Recent precipitation has eased dryness in northern California and the Northwest, although topsoil moisture remains 57% very short to short in Idaho.

On the Plains, highly beneficial precipitation (rain and snow) is falling in parts of South Dakota and Nebraska. However, colder weather is limiting the development of winter wheat, which across the northwestern half of the Plains has struggled to emerge due to drought.

In the Corn Belt, drought-easing precipitation (rain and wet snow) is falling in the upper Midwest. Farther east, lingering warmth favors winter wheat planting and emergence and growth, as well as late-season harvesting.

In the South, showers and breezy conditions are developing across Florida’s peninsula in conjunction with Hurricane Sandy’s approach. Elsewhere, very warm, dry weather favors autumn fieldwork.

Outlook: During the next several days, a complex and unique interaction between Hurricane Sandy; a storm system crossing North America; and a blocking high-pressure over the northern Atlantic Ocean will result in a prolonged period of historically severe weather conditions in parts of the eastern U.S. Sandy, which recently battered Jamaica and eastern Cuba, will graze the southern Atlantic Coast with gusty winds and tropical showers. Farther north, however, the remnants of Sandy will be drawn inland across the northeastern U.S. early next week, increasing the likelihood of flooding rains, high winds, and a damaging coastal storm surge. Heavy, wet snow will develop in some inland sections of the Northeast. Other Atlantic coastal impacts will include large waves and beach erosion. Farther west, snow will subside later today across the central Plains and upper Midwest, but linger for several days in the northern Rockies. Additional Midwestern rainfall could reach 1 to 2 inches, especially in the eastern Corn Belt on October 26-27. Cold weather will trail the North American storm, although temperatures will rebound to abovenormal levels west of the Rockies during the weekend. The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for October 30 – November 3 calls for below-normal temperatures across the eastern half of the U.S., while warmer-than-normal weather will prevail from the Pacific Coast to the High Plains. Meanwhile, near- to below-normal precipitation across the majority of the U.S. will contrast with wetter-than-normal conditions in the Northeast and Northwest.



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