USDA: Central and Southern Plains to Receive Beneficial Rainfall

February 20, 2013 02:17 AM

USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility says on the Plains, precipitation is falling across the southern half of the region, benefiting rangeland, pastures and winter wheat. "Frozen precipitation (snow, sleet, and freezing rain) is falling in northwestern Oklahoma and southwestern Kansas, while most other areas are receiving rain," USDA elaborates. Farther north, bitterly cold weather prevails in the Dakotas, where a few locations reported minimum temperatures of -20°F or below, USDA continues.

In the West, USDA says widespread precipitation is occurring across the southern half of the region. Southwestern precipitation is boosting high-elevation snow packs and aiding rangeland and pastures, USDA adds.

In the Corn Belt, USDA reports bitterly cold conditions are maintaining stress on livestock in the upper Midwest, where this morning's temperatures locally fell below -20°F. "Elsewhere, cold, dry weather prevails, except for lingering snow showers downwind of the Great Lakes," USDA explains.

In the South, USDA says rain showers are breaking out in areas west of the Delta. "Cool, dry weather covers the remainder of the region," USDA continues. USDA reports that Florida's "citrus and other fruits and vegetables appear to have weathered the [recent] cold snap." Despite recent showers, USDA says Florida's topsoil moisture was reported as 55% very short to short on Feb. 17, while half (50%) of the state's pastures were rated very poor to poor.

In its outlook, USDA says cold weather will continue to dominate much of the nation, except for some late-week warmth across the Deep South. "Meanwhile, a complex storm system emerging from the Southwest will provide the majority of the mid- to late-week precipitation," USDA continues. Significant snow can be expected from the Central Plains into the middle Mississippi Valley, while freezing rain will affect portions of the Mid-South, according to USDA. Elsewhere, USDA says showers and thunderstorms will sweep across the Southern Plains and into the Southeast, where storm-total rainfall could reach 2 to 5 inches. Liquid totals (rain and melted snow) of 0.5 to 1.5 inches should provide drought relief on the Central and Southern Plains, USDA reports. Toward week’s end, storminess will increase across the Northwest, with snow overspreading the northern Plains during the weekend, USDA elaborates.

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