USDA -- February 2013 Global Weather Text Highlights

February 8, 2013 05:48 AM

As part of the monthly USDA S&D Report, USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility has issued the following weather highlights:


Despite sporadic January precipitation on the Plains, drought remained entrenched across the nation’s midsection. Precipitation was a little heavier on the northern Plains, where snow provided wheat with some protection from weather extremes. The southern Plains also received occasional moisture, helping to offset the effects of mostly above-normal temperatures. In fact, above-normal monthly temperatures prevailed in nearly all areas from the Plains to the East Coast, despite a late-month cold outbreak. In contrast, frigid weather blanketed the Intermountain region, while near- to below-normal temperatures covered the remainder of the West.

Meanwhile, abundant January precipitation fell from the Mississippi Valley to the Appalachians, as well as the Mid-Atlantic States. Lowland flooding affected several areas, primarily from the central Gulf Coast into the Ohio Valley. However, very little moisture spilled across the mountains into New England or the southern Atlantic States. In the latter region, the combination of warm, dry conditions led to heavy irrigation demands in Florida’s winter agricultural belt. Elsewhere, disappointingly dry weather accompanied generally cool conditions in the West. However, latemonth storms provided some drought relief in the Southwest.


In January, dry weather developed over previously wet farming areas of central Argentina. While initially beneficial for late summer crop sowing, the dryness eventually became a limiting factor for development of later-planted corn and soybeans. A brief drying trend also extended into southern Brazil, but February showers improved conditions for soybeans and firstcrop corn. Abundant rain maintained overall favorable conditions for crops elsewhere in Brazil.


During January, above-normal precipitation and near-to-below-normal temperatures across central and northern Europe maintained favorable overwintering conditions for dormant winter grains and oilseeds. However, above-normal temperatures accompanied occasional rain in southern Europe, benefiting vegetative winter wheat and barley but hampering citrus harvesting.


In January, warmer-than-normal weather melted much of the protective snow cover over key southern winter wheat areas. In contrast, snow cover remained adequate for crop insulation in northern crop areas, where temperatures averaged near to below normal.


After a dry start, beneficial rain returned to the region during the latter half of February, maintaining favorable prospects for vegetative winter wheat and barley.


Heavy rain and mountain snow during January insulated dormant winter crops in the north and boosted soil moisture for vegetative winter grains in southern growing areas. Winter crop prospects remained favorable. By month’s end, however, unseasonable warmth melted much of the region’s snowpack.


Mid-January light to moderate showers across northern India provided a favorable boost to moisture supplies for vegetative wheat and reproductive rapeseed. While cold weather in early January slowed development, warmer conditions by midmonth fostered development.


In China, wheat and rapeseed continued to overwinter well during January, with brief periods of rain and snow boosting moisture reserves. Meanwhile, freezing temperatures in southern China early in the month caused localized damage to sugarcane, although subsequent warmer conditions eased any further damage.


Monsoon rains across Java, Indonesia, maintained abundant to excessive moisture supplies for reproductive rice. Some flooding occurred, however, in western portions of Java. In the Philippines, seasonal rainfall continued to keep winter rice and corn well watered, with localized flooding occurring in eastern parts of Mindanao and the Visayan Islands.


In early to mid-January, periods of excessive heat stressed summer crops in eastern Australia. Later in the month, seasonal warmth and adequate moisture supplies favored summer crop development in Queensland, but drier-than-normal weather lingered in northern New South Wales, further disrupting crop development. At the end of January, the remnants of Tropical Cyclone Oswald soaked the east coast, causing local freshwater flooding and some damage to sugarcane. Farther inland, Oswald provided a welcome boost in topsoil moisture for cotton and sorghum.


In January, warm, showery weather maintained mostly favorable conditions for rain-fed summer crops in most major production areas, though below-normal rainfall and occasionally hot weather limited moisture for plant establishment at the western edge of the corn belt. Seasonable warmth and dryness fostered development of irrigated tree and vine crops in Western Cape and supported early harvests.

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