Another flip of the seasons has come and gone and fall is now officially here.
Summer really tried to hang on during the last few days of the season with places like Sidney and Valentine, Nebraska, marking record highs. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Sidney hit a temperature of 98 degrees on Sept. 11 and 96 degrees on Sept. 15 for new record highs for those dates. In Valentine, a temperature of 99 degrees was recorded on Sept. 11 for a new record daily high.
In parts of the Plains, warm and dry conditions in the middle part of the month were beneficial as some crops matured. Based on numbers from the USDA, by Sept. 16, planting of winter wheat was largely on track compared to the last few years, with around 13 percent completed.
Outside of the Plains, Hurricane Florence neared the southeast around the same time as the normal peak of hurricane season. Harvest of summer crops was rushed in parts of the Carolinas before Florence made landfall, bringing catastrophic flooding and damage. Pig and hog operations in the path of the hurricane sustained damage as well, according to the USDA.
ENSO-Neutral was still in control as of September, but late fall and winter still looks favorable for a switch from ENSO-Neutral to El Niño. Once the switch occurs, a weak El Niño is expected to linger through the winter months.
October will likely bring a mix of temperatures across the Plains with below average temperatures favored for the eastern half of Nebraska and Kansas. Temperatures are expected to average above normal for central and western Colorado.
Beneficial precipitation could help drought-influenced areas in Texas and Oklahoma during October. Above average precipitation is expected within the next month for the southern Plains into southwest Kansas and southern Colorado as well.
The above normal precipitation trend is actually expected to continue the next several months for Texas and Oklahoma. Above average precipitation is also favored through December for western Kansas and much of Colorado as well.
Temperatures through December are forecast to average and above climatological normals for the entire Plains.
I’m always keeping an eye to the sky (and the weather patterns), so watch for November’s update.
Editor’s note: Regina Bird grew up on a farm near Belleville, Kansas. The views from the farm helped spur her interest in weather. Following high school, she went on to get a bachelor’s degree in meteorology from the University of Kansas. She currently works as a meteorologist for NTV and KFXL in central Nebraska. Follow her on Twitter: @ReginaBirdWX.