Warm conditions as harvest activities wind down

KIMBALL, Neb. – Although the nights were cold and frosty over the last week, the days have been warm and mild with some midday breeziness.

The mild weather conditions were near-perfect for harvest, and many producers were finishing with getting crops out of the field and into storage or off to the elevator.

Nearly all of the corn near Kimball has been harvested, though a few fields of dryland corn are still standing.

Warm days have melted most of the recent snow and early-winter grazing remains very good across well-managed pastures and rangeland.

Regional Forecast and Conditions

As of Tuesday morning, the temperature at sunrise was 36 degrees under mostly cloudy skies with sunshine beginning to break through the overcast. The day was expected to continue clearing, with temperatures climbing into the mid-60’s and a good deal of breeziness.

The forecast through the weekend calls for mostly sunny skies with a chance of isolated showers today (Friday). Daytime highs are expected to range in the mid-50’s today and Sunday and mid-40’s Saturday. Winds are expected to be relatively light and little if any widespread precipitation is anticipated. Overnight lows are expected to fall into the mid-20’s throughout the weekend.

Monday-Wednesday conditions are expected to remain mild, with daytime highs ranging in the mid-50’s under partly- to mostly-cloudy skies. Overnight lows are forecast to fall into the 20’s. There is little chance of precipitation in the forecast through Wednesday.
Daytime air temperatures warmed very slightly across the region last week. At Kimball the Nov. 7-13 daytime high averaged 51.14 degrees, less than 1 degree warmer than the previous week. The weekly high temperature was 72 degrees on Nov. 13. Overnight lows cooled, averaging 23.85 degrees, about 6 degrees cooler than the previous week. The weekly low temperature was 20 degrees on Nov. 7. The weekly mean temperature was 37.5 degrees, about 2.5 degrees cooler than the previous week, and about 1.5 degrees warmer than the Nov. average of 36.1 degrees. The long-term average high and low temperatures at Kimball for Nov. are 50.1 and 21.9 degrees, respectively.
Eleven of 13 Panhandle stations reported precipitation over the Nov. 7-13 period, with liquid moisture totals ranging from 0.28 inches at Harrisburg to 0.01 inches at Sidney. Big Springs and Chadron reported zero precipitation. Nine stations reported snow, ranging from 3.5 inches at Dalton to 0.5 inches at Agate. Four stations reported zero snowfall. Panhandle precipitation averaged 0.13 inches, unchanged from last week, and Panhandle snowfall averaged 0.98 inches, compared to 0.43 inches last week.
With the exception of Alliance, which warmed very slightly, Panhandle soil temperatures cooled over the Nov. 7-13 period: (this week/last week/change): Alliance 40.9/40.8 (+0.1) degrees; Gordon 37.1/39.9 (-2.8) degrees; Mitchell 40.3/45.0 (-4.7) degrees; Scottsbluff 39.0/43.3 (-4.3); and Sidney 36.8/41.2 (-4.4) degrees.
Winds near Kimball averaged west-southwesterly and occasionally breezy over the Nov. 7-13 period. Gusts for the week averaged 23.85 mph. High gust for the week was 26 mph on Nov. 12 and 13.

Weather Almanac

Here’s an overview of Nov. 17 temperature and precipitation highs, lows, and averages over the preceding 123 years at Kimball. Data is taken from the High Plains Regional Climate Center (www.hprcc.unl.edu), where you can easily find and track data for your own particular

Last year: Daily high temperature 77 degrees, overnight low 30 degrees, average temperature 53.5 degrees. Precipitation 0.00 inches, snowfall zero inches, snow depth zero inches.

The warmest Nov. 17 on record was 77 degrees in 2016. The coolest Nov. 17 high temperature was 14 degrees in 1903. The coldest Nov. 17 overnight low was -8 degrees in 1903. The warmest Nov. 17 overnight low was 37 degrees in 1966. Over the years since 1893 the high temperature on Nov. 17 has averaged 47 degrees, the overnight low 21.0 degrees, the daily average 34.3 degrees, precipitation has averaged 0.02 inches, snowfall 0.2 inches, snow depth zero inches.

The highest Nov. 17 precipitation total was 0.56 inches liquid equivalent in 1952. The greatest snowfall was 8 inches in 1952. Greatest snow depth was 5.0 inches in 1952.

Snow has fallen on Nov. 17 at Kimball 23 times over the last 123 years, with quantities ranging from a trace to 8 inches.

U.S. Drought Monitor

The High Plains: Cold weather and light precipitation (about 0.5 inches or less) occurred across most of the High Plains region, including light snow blanketing parts of the Dakotas and northern Nebraska. The combination of subnormal temperatures and light precipitation was enough to keep conditions from deteriorating, but not enough for improvement, thus no changes were made.

The exception to this was some improvements made in southeastern Wyoming and adjacent southwestern Nebraska where short-term surpluses existed and most indices were normal or wet, even out to 1-2 years. Accordingly, D0 was removed in southeastern Wyoming and D0 and D1 slightly trimmed in southwestern Nebraska. The D0 and D1 remained where long-term indices were
still negative.

In South Dakota, winter wheat conditions continued to be poor, with the USDA condition index reported as the second lowest in the last two decades. Causes included the ongoing long-term drought impacts, and most recently the sudden cold spell.

West: This week’s weather pattern produced a story of the haves (northern half) and have nots (southern half) as a strong storm system brought plentiful precipitation to coastal and mountainous areas (including high-elevation heavy snows).

Along coastal Washington, Oregon, and northern California, 1-4 inches of rain fell while the Cascades, northern Sierra Nevada, and northern Rockies reported 1-5 inches of liquid equivalents.

After a rather wet September in Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana (although precipitation is normally low) and a wet October in Washington and Oregon, November has also started out wet in the Northwest, leading to favorable WYTD basin average precipitation and snow water content (SWC). Since Oct. 1, the basin average precipitation was between 100-150 percent of normal across the northern half of the West while recent colder conditions have increased basin average SWC from 100-900 percent, although it is early in the season and normal SWC values are low.

With the recent wetness across much of the northern half of the West, and since the abnormal dryness and drought were short-term in western and southern sections (e.g. Washington, Oregon, Idaho, southwestern Montana), it was easier to justify improvements across this area as compared to long-term drought in northern and eastern areas (e.g. northern and eastern Montana, the Dakotas).

Accordingly, with most short-term deficits nearly erased or some areas now with surpluses, most USGS streams have risen to near or above normal levels, including western Montana’s Clark Fork, Bitterroot, and Blackfoot River basins that indicate they have recovered from the dry summer, and SPEI values during the past 2-3 months have been positive (wet) across most of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and the southern half of Montana.

The 2-month SPEI values have remained negative (dry) across northern Montana but not as significant as earlier (thus less or no improvement here), but SPI values depicted significant improvements nearly statewide.

Soil moisture continued to show low values along the U.S.-Canada border and northeast Montana, and it may be a while before we know if the soil moisture has truly improved.

Large precipitation deficits remained in northeastern Montana, and stock ponds have water quality issues or no water currently. Unfortunately, cattle pregnancy terminations are likely due to the high nitrates in the feed due to the drought.

Further south, the opposite is true of the WYTD conditions, with subnormal basin average precipitation and SWC, including no snow at some Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico basins. But the majority of the cold season precipitation normally occurs later in the winter here, so there is still plenty of time left. However, due to a weak summer monsoon and early withdraw, 90-day deficits existed in northwestern and southeastern Arizona, southwestern Utah, and extreme western New Mexico, thus D0 and some D1 was added to
these areas.

National Summary: A vigorous Pacific storm system and a series of low pressure centers traversing along a semi-stationary front in the eastern half of the Nation brought moderate to heavy precipitation to portions of the Northwest, the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys and eastern Great Lakes region, and parts of the lower Mississippi Valley and west-central
Gulf Coast.

With subnormal temperatures present, heavy snows fell on higher-elevations of the Cascades, northern Sierra Nevada, and northern and central Rockies, producing an early Water Year to Date (WYTD; Oct. 1-Nov. 7) basin average snow water content (SWC) much above normal across the northern half of the West, along with above-normal basin average precipitation. Unfortunately, the WYTD basin average SWC and precipitation values were below-to-much-below-normal across the southern third of the West.

In the East, strong upper-air energy and low-level moisture produced widespread showers and thunderstorms, including some that were severe, in the Ohio Valley.

Little or no precipitation fell on Southwest, southern Rockies, much of the Plains, western Corn Belt, the Southeast, and along coastal
New England.

Temperatures averaged below normal in the Pacific Northwest, northern Rockies, northern half of the Plains, upper Midwest, and Florida while above-normal readings occurred across the Southwest, southern Plains, Southeast, Ohio Valley, East Coast, and Alaska.

Drier weather returned to both Alaska and Hawaii after several weeks of ample precipitation while light to moderate showers fell across
Puerto Rico.

For more information on the U.S. Drought Monitor visit: http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu

U.S. Conditions and Weather Report

Cold but mostly dry weather across the Plains and upper Midwest promoted autumn fieldwork, including late-season harvest efforts.

Farther east, cool weather and periods of rain slowed fieldwork across the lower Midwest.

Showers also dotted the South and East, although generally dry weather prevailed along and near the Gulf Coast. Some of the precipitation fell as snow, especially from the Great Lakes region into the Northeast.

Warm, dry weather in the Southwest contrasted with cool, stormy conditions in the Northwest. Some of the Northwestern precipitation spilled across the northern Rockies, resulting in a protective snow cover for winter wheat on the northern High Plains.

Beneficial precipitation spread southward across roughly the northern half of California. As a cold weather pattern became entrenched across the Northwest, Plains, Midwest, and Northeast, weekly temperatures averaged as much as 10 to 20 degrees below normal from Montana to Lake Superior. The extended early-season cold wave across the northern U.S. resulted in sub-zero temperatures on multiple days from Montana into the upper Great Lakes region.

Farther south temperatures averaged 5 to 10 degrees above normal in parts of Arizona and New Mexico and up to 5 degrees above normal across the lower Southeast. High temperatures topped 90 degrees in parts of northern Texas on Nov. 5 and in Deep South Texas through Nov. 7. 

USDA Weekly Weather and Crop Reports Week ending Nov. 12


Harvest activities progressed last week despite wetter conditions.

Isolated snow showers and rain were observed early in the week.

A reporter in the northwest district observed that snow cover was quickly beginning to increase.

In northeastern counties, reporters noted harvest slowed somewhat due to morning frost and high humidity.  Livestock were being moved to winter feed stalks as they became available after harvest.

In the San Luis Valley, another dry week was observed, with producers continuing to carry out post-harvest fieldwork.

In southeastern counties, harvest also slowed slightly due to humid conditions.

Statewide, corn was 72 percent harvested by week’s end, still behind last year and the average.

Stored feed supplies were rated 2 percent very short, 7 percent short, 78 percent adequate, and 13 percent surplus.

Sheep death loss was 77 percent average and 23 percent light.  Cattle death loss was 1 percent heavy, 73 percent average, and 26 percent light. 


Temperatures averaged four to ten degrees below normal. Precipitation was limited across the State. Dry weather continued to allow good progress on corn harvest. There were 6.6 days suitable for fieldwork.

Topsoil moisture supplies rated 3 percent very short, 21 short, 74 adequate, and 2 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 5 percent very short, 19 short, 75 adequate, and 1 surplus.

Corn harvested was 86 percent, behind 92 last year, and near 90 for the five-year average.

Winter wheat condition rated 2 percent very poor, 6 poor, 29 fair, 54 good, and 9 excellent. Winter wheat emerged was 95 percent, near 98 both last year and average.

Sorghum harvested was 85 percent, behind 96 last year and 93 average.

Pasture and range conditions rated 2 percent very poor, 11 poor, 43 fair, 38 good, and
6 excellent.

Stock water supplies rated 1 percent very short, 4 short, 95 adequate, and 0 surplus.


Wyoming experienced cooler temperatures for the week.  Twenty-nine of the 34 reporting stations reported below average temperatures for the week with the high temperature of 63 degrees recorded at Chugwater and Wheatland, and a low of 5 degrees below zero at Yellowstone.

Below normal moisture was reported at 27 of the reporting stations with 10 stations reporting no precipitation.  Yellowstone reported the most moisture with 0.80 inches.

A reporter from North Central Wyoming indicated that their area has been very dry and that livestock condition is good. 

A reporter from Western Wyoming indicated cold weather has set in.  They also indicated that the ground is frozen with snow on the ground in the mountains and in some of the lower valleys.

A reporter from Southeastern Wyoming indicated that they had dry weather for the past week with late fall conditions.  Another reporter from Southeastern Wyoming reported that they got snow on Monday which halted corn harvest.  They also indicated the rest of the week was dry which allowed the trucks and combines to be in the field.

Stock water supplies across Wyoming were rated 11 percent very short, 18 percent short, and 71 percent adequate.


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