Drought Update: Not Enough Rain in the Plains
Weather Summary: A slow-moving storm resulted in several days of cool, cloudy, showery weather in the Midwest, replenishing soil moisture. Rain also extended southward through the Mississippi Valley. Mostly dry weather prevailed, however, across the lower Southeast. One exception to the dry pattern was southern Florida, where locally heavy showers occurred.
Farther west, mostly dry weather accompanied a warming trend across the Plains. Significant precipitation was limited to the eastern Dakotas, while the High Plains’ hard red winter wheat belt received little or no rain. As a result, soil moisture shortages continued to limit wheat emergence and development across the northwestern half of the Plains. In addition, mid-week wind gusts locally in excess of 70 mph raised dust and temporarily closed major roadways across parts of the Plains. On the southern half of the Plains, however, a combination of warmer weather and previous soil moisture improvements promoted wheat growth.
Elsewhere, dry weather from southern California to the central and southern Rockies contrasted with substantial precipitation in northern California and the Northwest.
Looking Ahead: During the next five days (Oct. 25-29), the complex interaction between Hurricane Sandy, a cold front crossing North America, and a blocking high-pressure system over the northern Atlantic Ocean will result in a high-impact weather event in the eastern U.S. Coastal highlights will include large waves and beach erosion. Inland — especially in the Northeast —conditions developing during the weekend and persisting well into next week should include multiple days of high winds and heavy rainfall.
Precipitation may eventually change to snow in parts of the Appalachians. Farther west, rainfall associated with the cold front could total 1 to 2 inches in the Midwest. Similar precipitation totals should also occur during the next 5 days in the Northwest. In contrast, dry weather will prevail from southern California to the southern Plains. Cold air will gradually engulf much of the nation, although temperatures will rebound to above-normal levels in the West by early next week.
The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for Oct. 30 – Nov. 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.