The final full week of October 2023 will bring more above normal temperatures across the Corn Belt but a dramatic change to much colder temperatures looks increasingly likely in the final days of the month. The last week of October, week-ending Oct. 28, will be the 8th-warmest final week of October in 30-plus years, according to forecasts from WeatherTrends360. By the end of the week, however, a cold front is expected to push across the northern Plains bringing a reality check after a spell of unseasonably warm weather.
The third full week of October, week-ending Oct. 21, was drier than normal across the Corn Belt which should have helped to progress corn harvest. The hope is that a lot of progress was made as the weather in the final days of October will turn cold, windy, wet, and potentially snowy for some areas.
A storm system will be developing in the final week of October 2023 bringing together tropical moisture from the remnants of eastern Pacific Hurricane Nora, and a disturbance dropping into the northwestern United States. Heavy rain and strong winds will be possible across portions of the central and southern Plains. In the latter half of the week and into the final days of October 2023, colder air will move in across the northern Plains with the risk of snow and gusty winds.
The greatest risk for snow will be in states that still have a lot of harvesting to do, even though harvest is running ahead of the 5-year average. As of the week-ending Oct. 15, only 27% of corn was harvested in North Dakota; 37% in South Dakota; 45% in Minnesota; and 44% in Nebraska, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.
Cold weather is expected to linger into early November but warmer than normal conditions are expected to return by mid-month. Should snow fall, patience will be required to allow for soils to return to more favorable conditions for harvest activities.