Weather report: Warm and dry in the West

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In the West, warm, dry weather favors fieldwork, including Northwestern winter wheat planting and the Arizona cotton harvest. However, developing drought is hampering wheat emergence of some rain-fed winter wheat.

On the Plains, dry weather prevails. Across the northwestern half of the Plains, drought is limiting winter wheat emergence. On October 7, emergence was at least 20 percentage points behind the 5-year average pace in South Dakota (8% emerged versus the average of 49%), Nebraska (31 vs. 62%), Colorado (36 vs. 57%), and Montana (14 vs. 35%).

In the Corn Belt, cool weather prevails in the wake of a cold front's passage. In the vicinity of the cold front, rain showers are affecting the lower Great Lakes region. Meanwhile, a record-setting harvest pace continues in the upper Midwest, where more than three-quarters of both corn and soybeans had been harvested by October 7 in Iowa, Minnesota, and South Dakota.

In the South, dry weather favors an acceleration of fieldwork, including cotton, soybean, and peanut harvesting.

Outlook: As the week progresses, cool air will retreat northward, with below-normal temperatures mostly confined to the Midwest and Northeast by late in the week. Over the weekend, above-normal temperatures will develop from the Plains to the East Coast. Meanwhile, fairly tranquil weather will yield to increasingly stormy conditions. On Thursday, showers will develop across the Southwest, expanding into the central and southern Plains and Midwest by the weekend. Late-week rainfall could become heavy in the Great Lakes region, where totals may exceed 2 inches. Elsewhere, much-needed precipitation will also overspread the Pacific Northwest, starting on Friday. The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for October 15-19 calls for warmer-than-normal weather nationwide, except for nearnormal temperatures in the Northwest. Meanwhile, above-normal precipitation across the majority of the U.S., including the Northwest and from the Mississippi Valley to the East Coast, will contrast with drier-than-normal conditions across the central and southern High Plains and the Southwest.

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