It isn’t supposed to be this cold in October. The official start of winter is still almost two months away, and yet the weather in much of the western half of the country right now resembles what we might expect in mid-January. All-time record lows for the month of October are being set in city after city, and this extremely cold air is going to push into the Midwest by the end of the week.
Temperatures in the heartland will be up to 50 degrees below normal, and unfortunately about half of all corn still has not been harvested. Due to unprecedented rainfall and extreme flooding early in the year, many farmers faced extraordinary delays in getting their crops planted, and so they were hoping that good weather at the end of the season would provide time for the crops to fully mature and be harvested. Unfortunately, a nightmare scenario has materialized instead. A couple of monster snow storms have already roared through the Midwest, and now record low temperatures threaten to absolutely wreck the rest of the harvest season.
When temperatures get significantly below zero for more than a few hours, scientists tell us that it will kill standing corn…
A significant freeze (28°F or colder for a few hours) will kill the whole plant, and any frost will act to defoliate plants, resulting in diminished grain filling for the seeds, especially on the upper half of the plants.
And right now we are facing a crisis because less than half of all U.S. corn has been harvested.
In fact, according to the latest USDA Crop Progress Report just 41 percent of all U.S. corn has been harvested so far…
In its weekly Crop Progress Report, the USDA pegged the U.S. corn harvest at 41% complete, below the trade’s expectation of 48% and below a five-year average 61%.
Minnesota is behind the most regarding picking corn: 22% vs. a 56% five-year average.
So when I used the term “nightmare scenario” earlier, I was not exaggerating.
The low temperatures that we have seen this week are hard to believe. According to USA Today, the temperature in one community in Utah actually hit 45 degrees below zero on Wednesday…
Subzero cold was recorded as far south as the Grand Canyon on Wednesday morning, the Weather Channel said. Big Piney, Wyoming, plunged to minus 24 degrees before sunrise Wednesday.
Notorious cold spot Peter Sinks, Utah, dipped to an incredible minus 45 degrees early Wednesday. This appeared to be the coldest October temperature on record anywhere in the Lower 48 states, according to Utah-based meteorologist Timothy Wright.
That is seriously cold.
And we have also seen many other all-time October lows in cities all across the western half of the country…
-Bozeman, Montana: minus 14 degrees (Oct. 29 and 30)
-Casper, Wyoming: minus 8 degrees (Oct. 29 and 30)
-Grand Junction, Colorado: 12 degrees (Oct. 30)
-Livingston, Montana: minus 12 degrees (Oct. 29)
-Rawlins, Wyoming: minus 20 degrees (Oct. 30)
-Rock Springs, Wyoming: minus 6 degrees (Oct. 30)
-Salt Lake City: 14 degrees (Oct. 30)
We have never seen anything like this during the month of October ever before.
In Denver, they have actually set record lows for three days in a row…
The temperature in Denver officially dropped to 3 degrees above zero early Wednesday morning. It was cold enough to shatter the previous record low for October 30 by 4 degrees. It was our third record temperature in 3 days and one more record is expected Thursday morning.
It is strange that so much of the nation is experiencing such bitterly cold weather while much of California is being burned to a crisp by horrific wildfires.
But this continues a theme that we have been tracking all year. Everywhere we look there have been bizarre weather extremes, and many expect that to continue into the winter season.
This week, even “warm weather cities” are experiencing extremely cold temperatures. For example, the forecast called for a record low of just 19 degrees in Albuquerque, New Mexico on Thursday morning…
Thursday morning in Albuquerque is expected to have a record low temperature of 19 degrees. It will feel like 11 degrees with the wind chill. The current record low for Oct. 31 in the city is 21.
According to the National Weather Service, locations from Albuquerque southward, including east central and southeast New Mexico, “have not seen temperatures this cold since February.”
But the real damage will be done as this extraordinarily cold air moves into the Midwest. According to USA Today, we could see temperatures “30 to 50 degrees below normal” in the central plains…
High temperatures Wednesday were forecast to be 30 to 50 degrees below normal across Colorado, Texas and the central Plains, according to meteorologist Ryan Maue of BAM Weather.
Right now, much of the Midwest is currently covered by snow. This has prevented a lot of farmers from being able to harvest their crops, and now devastatingly cold air is moving in.
It is likely that the crop losses in many areas will be severe. And considering what is going on elsewhere in the world right now, this is something that we cannot afford.
Despite all of our advanced technology, farmers are still deeply dependent on good weather, and if farmers do not grow our food we do not eat.
This was already going to be an absolutely abysmal year for U.S. agriculture, and now this snap of record cold weather is going to be the nail in the coffin for many U.S. farmers.
Without a doubt, this is an incredibly important story, and I will continue to keep you updated as I learn more.