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Midwest Weekly Highlights - November 1-9, 2020

Exceptional Warmth

The first nine days of November were exceptionally and often record warm across the Midwest (Figure 1).  Average temperatures in the Upper Midwest were 10-13°F above normal, with some areas in southern Minnesota 14-15°F above normal. Most of the Ohio River Valley was 2-5°F above normal, with southeastern Kentucky only 1°F above normal.  The warmth was most pronounced in maximum temperatures (Figure 2), with most of the Upper Midwest having average maximums 15-18°F above normal.  Maximum temperatures averaged in the 60s across most of the region (Figure 3).  In total, more than 1,400 daily high temperature records were broken (Figure 4), including more than 950 high maximum records.  Most of these records occurred after November 3 when the warmth began in earnest.  Each day from November 4 through November 9 had more than 100 daily records broken, including more than 300 on November 8 (Figure 5) and more than 450 on November 9 (Figure 6).

Mostly Dry

Precipitation was sparse across the Midwest during the period of widespread warmth in the region (Figure 7).  Light to moderate rainfall and some light snowfall was reported in the Upper Midwest (Figure 8), with precipitation amounts of less than an inch throughout the region.  Only a few areas in southwestern Minnesota had precipitation that was near normal (Figure 9), while most of the region received less than 10 percent of normal. Drought in the region remained steady as of the November 3 U.S. Drought Monitor (Figure 10), however, before the extreme warmth set in.

Harvest Ahead West, Behind East

As the harvest season moved into November, progress was ahead of schedule in the Upper Midwest while areas in the Ohio River Valley were slightly behind.  Corn progress according to the November 1 USDA NASS Crop Progress Report was 80 percent or above in Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois and Kentucky (Figure 11).  Wisconsin was 11 percent ahead as of November 1 as well at 55 percent harvested.  Ohio was far behind, however, at only 41 percent harvested.  This was 24 percent below the five-year average.  Soybeans were nearing completion in Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois, where progress was above 90 percent harvested (Figure 12).  Ohio, Kentucky and Missouri were slightly behind the five-year average.