Ag Weather Forum

Arctic Locked Up Another Week

John Baranick
By  John Baranick , DTN Meteorologist
A pattern change is bringing drier conditions to much of the country during the next week, with arctic cold conditions locked up near the North Pole. Temperatures will increase early next week. (DTN graphic)

A strong system leaving the Northeast Tuesday and Wednesday has produced moderate showers across the eastern Midwest, including moderate snowfall in Ohio. The precipitation has continued to delay late stages of corn harvest in the region and with temperatures falling back toward or below normal, little or slow melting is expected over the next week, continuing the delays.

The precipitation has been beneficial for winter wheat in the Midwest, where good-to-excellent ratings have been quite good as the season comes to a close with Illinois at 79%, Indiana at 64%, and Ohio at 69%. Snow and temperatures falling back toward or below normal should start turning the crop dormant for the winter.

A more subdued, drier pattern is noted for the first 10 days of December. Only a small hiccup in the pattern -- a low pressure center over the Southern Plains -- will produce more moderate showers across the Central and Southern Plains on Dec. 2, including some moderate snow in Kansas and Oklahoma.

The showers will benefit winter wheat by increasing soil moisture for some of the region, though the crop is likely going dormant across western sections of the region due to dryness and temperatures falling into the 10s during the past several days.

Showers will be lighter as the system travels through the Delta and Southeast later this week, but could cause some disruption in the late stages of the cotton harvest.

Otherwise, shower chances will be few and far between across most of the country through early next week. A pesky cutoff low may produce some showers in Texas, but for the most part, dryness is in store. And despite a ridge-west and trough-east pattern, temperatures will increase country-wide early next week.

The trough is not connected to the Arctic, with the polar vortex remaining around Hudson Bay. And as such, its overall stagnation will show up in moderating temperatures. Looking a bit further into December, the pattern will eventually change and storm systems will move through the country again. But the majority of the growing regions will see a respite for the next seven to 10 days.

As we go further into December, the wheat will go dormant and we will watch the overall moisture supplies for the start of the 2021 growing season. This is especially true in the Central and Southern Plains, where dryness may continue to build due to the ongoing La Nina situation into next spring.

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John Baranick can be reached at john.baranick@dtn.com

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