Livestock facing extremely cold weather in the Plains

December 23, 2008 06:00 PM

USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility says in the West, the latest in a series of powerful winter storms is approaching. Precipitation is spreading across the Pacific Coast, and rain is falling as far south as central California. Recent snowfall has improved water-supply prospects and insulated Northwestern winter grains from unusually cold weather.

On the Plains, light snow is ending across eastern portions of the region. Conditions remain especially difficult for livestock on the northern Plains due to the persistence of bitterly cold weather and a substantial snow cover.

In the Corn Belt, frozen precipitation has changed to rain in the Ohio Valley, but freezing rain and snow showers continue to cause travel disruptions in the lower Great Lakes region. Cold, dry weather is overspreading the winter-weary western Corn Belt in the wake of the latest round of snow.

In the South, warm weather prevails in advance of an approaching storm system. Across the interior Southeast, rain is providing additional relief from long-term drought.

In their outlook for today, USDA says precipitation will depart much of the Atlantic coastal region by Christmas Day, while a complex Pacific storm system will produce another round of heavy rain and snow in the West. By week's end, showers and thunderstorms will erupt across the Mid-South and spread northeastward. During the next 5 days, precipitation could total as much as 3 to 6 inches from the Pacific Northwest southward into the Sierra Nevada and 1 to 2 inches from the Delta into the lower Great Lakes region and New England. In contrast, little or no precipitation will fall across most of Florida and the Great Plains. The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for Dec. 29, 2008 – Jan. 2, 2009, calls for above-normal temperatures across the South, East, and central Plains, while cooler-than-normal weather will prevail in the Great Lake regions. Meanwhile, above-normal precipitation across the nation's northern tier will contrast with mostly dry weather in Florida and the south-central and southwestern U.S.

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