Weather varies greatly across the Heartland; a big change underway
Across the Corn Belt, a cold front extending from Lake Superior to northwestern Missouri is the dividing line between cold air in the upper Midwest and ongoing warmth farther east. Friday’s high temperatures will range from near the freezing mark (32°F) in the Red River Valley of the North to 80°F or higher in the lower Ohio Valley. Damp conditions from earlier rainfall and spotty showers are slowing fieldwork, including winter wheat planting and summer crop harvesting.
On the Plains, the leading edge of sharply colder air stretches from southeastern Kansas to western Texas. Meanwhile, lingering warmth covers the southeastern Plains. Farther north, snow has ended across the northern Plains. Snow accumulations were widespread across Montana and the northwestern half of North Dakota, with official totals in Montana reaching 14.0 inches in Glasgow and 9.5 inches in Great Falls. Early Friday, temperatures broadly plunged below 10°F on the northern High Plains, although snow is helping to insulate emerged winter wheat.
In the South, widely scattered showers dot the northern Mississippi Delta and the Tennessee Valley. Elsewhere, warm, dry weather is nearly ideal for harvesting of summer crops, such as cotton and soybeans, as well as planting of winter grains and cover crops. In Louisiana—currently 88.5% covered by extreme to exceptional drought according to the U.S. Drought Monitor—the sugarcane harvest was 19% complete by October 22.
In the West, cool air blankets most areas. However, mostly dry weather is supporting fieldwork, especially in California and the Southwest. On October 22, the cotton harvest—somewhat behind the average pace—was 23 and 20% complete, respectively, in Arizona and California.
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