Recent Storms Haven't Eased Drought in the Central, Southern Plains

03:34PM Mar 27, 2017
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USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility says in the Corn Belt, mild, mostly dry weather prevails in the wake of a departing disturbance, although fog and low clouds linger in many areas. "In addition, a new storm system is approaching from the southwest, bringing showers and a few thunderstorms to the middle Mississippi and lower Missouri Valleys," USDA adds.

In the West, USDA reports the latest in a series of storms is producing scattered rain showers and high-elevation snow across northern California, the northern Great Basin, and the northern Intermountain West.

On the Plains, USDA says mild, mostly dry weather prevails. "However, overnight thunderstorms produced localized wind and hail damage in eastern Oklahoma and northeastern Texas," USDA details. Despite the recent increase in storminess, drought persists across portions of the central and southern Plains, according to USDA. In much of western and central Oklahoma, for example, no single rainfall event has produced one -quarter of an inch of rain in at least five weeks, it elaborates.

In the South, USDA says warm weather favors the growth of winter grains and emerging summer crops. "Showers (and locally severe thunderstorms) are providing some relief in drought-affected areas of the mid-South," USDA continues.

In its outlook through March 23, USDA says a steady procession of storms will maintain mild, showery weather across large sections of the country, along with breezy conditions and locally severe thunderstorms. "Currently, disturbances are crossing the Northeast, the mid-South and the Pacific Coast," USDA elaborates. By mid-week, the middle storm will reach the Atlantic Seaboard, while the third system will arrive across the central and southern Plains. A new Pacific storm will reach the Northwest by Thursday. "Five-day precipitation totals could reach 2 to 4 inches from the central and southern Plains into the mid-South. As much as 1 to 2 inches could fall in other parts of the central and eastern U.S., except for little or no precipitation in the Rio Grande Valley, the far upper Midwest, and across Florida’s peninsula," the department details. In the West, totals could reach 1 to 3 inches or more from the Pacific Northwest to th e northern and central Rockies, it continues. No significant cold outbreaks are expected for the remainder of the week, although below-normal temperatures will occur at times in some areas due to precipitation and cloud cover, according to USDA.