The following content was provided by meteorologist Gail Martell of MartellCropProjections.com:
Bitterly Cold in Great Plains-Western United States
Abnormally cold temperatures continue to dominate the Rocky Mountains and Great Plains. Minimum temperatures on the weekend fell to -35 to -40 F in Montana. Not since 1996 have Montana's temperatures been this cold. Temperatures as low as 0 F have been reported as far south as the Texas panhandle Feeding rates for beef cattle have been increased to offset calories burned, as animals shiver in the bitter cold.
Freezing temperatures the past 2 nights in California's San Joaquin Valley have reportedly damaged lemons, strawberries, avocados and lettuce.
Midwest harvesting of corn and soybeans is virtually done. With only a thin layer of snow to insulate fields, fields are freezing through a deep layer. Snow cover has grown thicker in the Northern Great Plains, now 4-9 inches deep.
Hard red winter wheat in Kansas has been exposed to temperatures as low as 9 F. No damage to overwintering wheat is anticipated, as the crop has gradually been "hardened" to the cold through a natural process in the autumn from declining daylight hours and chilling temperatures.
Stormy conditions in Texas and throughout the Mid South have continued with snow and sleet. The Dallas-Fort Worth region experienced freezing temperatures on the weekend that shut down roads and canceled flights. Sleet and snow is spreading to the east into the Mid South and Tennessee Valley today.
Two Separate Storm Tracks
A strange precipitation pattern has developed in the United States, wet in Texas, the Deep South and southeastern United States, and also a narrow band of the northern United States. In between, extremely dry conditions have prevailed in Kansas and the Midwest. The precipitation forecast would continue much the same this week.
Cold rain predicted in eastern Texas and sleet-snow in the Mid South and Tennessee Valley. Very heavy precipitation is predicted in a wide swath from Louisiana to the Mid Atlantic coast, up to 3.5 inches of rain and slushy snow. Separately, a thin band of snow is predicted across the Northern Rockies, Upper Great Plains and Great Lakes.
Western Warming, Bitter Midwest Cold
Temperatures would moderate this week in the Western United States, while bitter cold digs into the Midwest. Extreme cold would affect chicken feeding operations in Arkansas and throughout the South, increasing feed needs. Pigs are housed mostly in heated shelters in the Midwest, though the bitter cold may still increase feeding. Corn is the main feed grain while soymeal is mixed into feed rations.
High population centers in the Northeast United States have generally avoided the cold weather. However, the heavy population centers from Washington DC to New York and Boston are expected to become much colder this week, increasing heating oil needs.