USDA: Bitter Cold Across Nation's Northern Tier

December 30, 2013 02:37 AM

USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility says on the Plains, cold air is eroding in western portions of the region. "However, cold conditions persist across the eastern Plains," USDA adds. The weather remains especially harsh—maintaining stress on livestock— in the eastern Dakotas, where this morning’s temperatures dipped below -10°F in many locations, USDA explains.

In the West, USDA says mild, dry weather prevails. "California, heading deeper into a potential third year of drought, continues to suffer from poor rangeland conditions and a lack of mountain snow," USDA details. "On Dec. 27, the average water content of the high-elevation Sierra Nevada snow pack stood at 2 inches, less than one-quarter of normal," USDA elaborates.

In the Corn Belt, USDA reports extreme cold is confined to the far upper Midwest. For example, USDA says this morning’s temperatures fell below -30°F in parts of northern Minnesota, "However, below-normal readings cover all of the Midwest, with this morning’s temperatures bottoming out near 0°F as far south as southern Iowa and central Illinois," USDA explains.

In the South, USDA says cool, mostly dry weather prevails, although fieldwork remains mostly stalled in the wake of weekend rainfall. Rain lingers across Deep South Texas, USDA adds.

In its outlook, USDA says atmospheric energy originating over the northern Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, respectively, will phase across the northeastern U.S. later this week. "As a result, snow across the Midwest on New Year’s Day will shift eastward and become heavy in the Northeast on Jan. 2," USDA explains. Very, cold, windy conditions will accompany and trail the Northeastern precipitation, resulting in blowing and drifting snow, according to USDA. In addition, USDA reports snow showers will linger for much of the week downwind of the Great Lakes. "Meanwhile, significant rainfall will be confined to the Deep South, where 1- to 3-inch totals can be expected from southern Texas to northern Florida," USDA explains. Elsewhere, USDA reports generally light precipitation will occur from the Pacific Northwest to the northern Rockies, but dry weather will prevail through week’s end from California to the southern Plains. "Bitterly cold conditions will remain mostly confined to the nation’s northern tier, but late-week temperatures could fall to near 0°F as far south as the middle Mississippi Valley," USDA continues.


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