Martell Weather Update: February 25

February 25, 2013 04:04 AM

The following content was provided by meteorologist Gail Martell of 

More Welcome Precipitation Coming to U.S. Breadbasket

Stormy weather has resumed in the Southern Great Plains, further improving HRW wheat crop prospects. Snow began developing overnight in Texas and Oklahoma and is spreading northward into Kansas early this morning. The morning radar shows very heavy precipitation in the Southern Great Plains including previously dry wheat areas of the Texas Panhandle.

New Forecast Wet in So Plains MidwestThe new winter snow storm, the second in a week, is expected to bring an additional .25 to 1 inch of moisture from snow melt in Kansas, Oklahoma and western Texas.

Drought is rapidly resolving from back-to-back snow storms. Moisture deficits had accrued to 2 inches in Kansas and 3.6 inches in Oklahoma, the top two U.S. winter wheat states in the long period back to early October. Very heavy precipitation last week cut the Kansas moisture deficit in half. Additional heavy moisture in the new snow storm would may create a soil moisture surplus. Oklahoma October-February drought was more severe, though cumulative moisture from the two storms may shrink the deficit to within 1-1.25 inch.

Corn Belt Expecting Heavy Snow

The new disturbance would lift northeastward spreading a band of heavy snow across the Midwest Tuesday and Wednesday. Dry corn states Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin and Michigan are expecting several more inches of wet snow. Snow cover increased last week across the U.S. Corn Belt from the powerful storm. Temperatures in the heartland turned much colder as well.

Precipitation Tues Night Wed Noon

Winter precipitation has been quite abundant in the main corn states though a large portion of rain and snow-melt ran off frozen fields in a warm January. Nebraska and Minnesota are the driest of the top corn producing states reporting only 63% and 72% of normal precipitation, respectively, since the October harvest.

Suddenly Strong Subtropical Jet Stream

Back-to-back winter storms in the Southern Great Plains are due to a strengthening subtropical jet stream midwinter. This is the main source of winter precipitation in the southern United States, previously weakened by the La Nina influence. However, as the La Nina effect has faded, winter weather has become suddenly stormy and wet. Not only has hard red winter wheat received valuable precipitation in the southern Great Plains, but also the Gulf States and Southeast United States have received drought-relieving rains.

Weather Anomalies La Nina vs El Nino


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