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USDA: Record Warmth on Plains Promoting Wheat Growth But Stressing Dry Areas

March 13, 2012
By: Meghan Pedersen, Pro Farmer Associate Editor

USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility says on the Plains, dry weather accompanies record-setting warmth. Today's high temperatures will approach 90°F on the southern Plains. "The warm weather is promoting rapid winter wheat growth, but increasing stress in areas — such as the southern High Plains — where inadequate soil moisture reserves exist," USDA reports.

In the West, USDA says precipitation has spread as far inland as the northern Rockies and as far south as northern California. "Precipitation is especially beneficial in northern California, where high-elevation snow packs are only about one-third of the mid-March normal," USDA reports. Cool weather accompanies the Pacific Northwestern storminess, USDA adds.

In the Corn Belt, USDA says warm, dry weather prevails. "Across the southern and eastern Corn Belt, soft red winter wheat is developing rapidly under a regime of above-normal temperatures and abundant soil moisture," USDA explains.

In the South, USDA says localized lowland flooding persists in Louisiana. "Farther east, scattered rain showers dot the southern Atlantic states, although Florida's peninsula remains extremely dry," USDA reports. In Georgia, USDA elaborates 69% of the peaches were blooming on March 11, compared to the five-year average of 23%.

In its outlook, USDA says western storminess will persist for much of the week, with significant drought relief expected in California’s key watershed areas. "During the next five days, precipitation totals could reach 4 to 10 inches in the Sierra Nevada, while 2- to 4-inch amounts will be common from the Pacific Northwest into the northern Rockies," USDA explains. It continues, "Farther east, unseasonably warm weather will continue into next week from the Plains to the Atlantic Seaboard." High temperatures will frequently exceed 80°F as far north as the central Plains and Mid-Atlantic states, according to USDA. "During the latter half of the week, generally light rain will develop across the South, East, and lower Midwest," USDA reports. Late-week totals of an inch or greater may occur from the Mid-South into the Ohio Valley, according to USDA.


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