USDA: Arctic Air Encompasses the Northern Plains & Cold Belt

December 23, 2013 02:30 AM

USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility says on the Plains, another surge of arctic air is bringing bitter cold to northern portions of the region, where today’s highs will average up to 30°F below normal. "Weekend snow insulated winter wheat from northern Texas into northern Oklahoma and central Kansas," USDA reports. Wheat remains exposed, however, from eastern Colorado into northern Kansas and southern Nebraska, USDA continues.

In the West, USDA says warmer-than-normal weather has settled over many areas, although temperatures remain below normal in the Four Corners region. "A very dry start to the water year has resulted in meager snowpacks from the Cascades into the Sierra Nevada," USDA explains. In contrast, snowpacks in the Rockies are in mostly favorable condition, it continues.

In the Corn Belt, USDA reports sharply colder weather (20-30°F below normal) in western portions of the region contrasts with mild conditions (up to 10°F above normal) in the Ohio Valley.

In the South, USDA says drier weather is returning to the western Gulf Coast region, while a slow-moving cold front continues to produce soaking rainfall in the Southeast. "The rain provided drought relief in Texas and eased developing dryness from the Delta into the Carolinas," USDA details.

In its outlook, USDA says a slow-moving cold front will produce one more day of soaking rainfall over the East Coast states, while cold, dry conditions settle over the eastern half of the nation in the front’s wake. "Generally tranquil weather will prevail across the rest of the contiguous U.S., although snow will accompany a disturbance as it moves from the Northwest into the northern Plains, reaching the Great Lakes region on Christmas Day," USDA elaborates. During the latter half of the week, much warmer weather will return to the Great Plains, while the unfavorably dry start to the western water year will continue from the Pacific Northwest into California and the Great Basin, according to USDA.


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