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USDA: Chilly Air to Hit the Plains & Midwest by Friday

08:51AM Oct 01, 2012

USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility says in the Corn Belt, mild, mostly dry weather prevails, despite widespread cloudiness. "As a result, summer crop harvesting continues at a rapid pace, especially across the upper Midwest," USDA reports. However, showers are beginning to spread northward into the Ohio Valley, according to USDA.

In the West, USDA says unusually warm, dry weather continues to promote fieldwork, including Northwestern winter wheat planting, cotton harvesting in Arizona, and rice harvesting in California.

On the Plains, USDA says rangeland, pastures, and winter grains across the southern half of the region are benefiting from recent topsoil moisture improvements. "Meanwhile, extremely dry conditions from Montana to Nebraska are maintaining severe stress on rangeland and pastures, as well as delaying seeding of some winter grains and hampering the emergence of recently planted wheat," USDA reports.

In the South, USDA says widespread showers and thunderstorms are limiting fieldwork but maintaining generally favorably moisture reserves for cool-season pastures and soon-to-be-planted winter grains. "The rain is also easing or eradicating lingering drought across the interior Southeast," USDA explains.

In its outlook, USDA says early-week warmth will be replaced by sharply colder conditions. "Below-normal temperatures will arrive across northern portions of the Rockies and Plains by Wednesday and quickly encompass all of the Rockies, Plains and Midwest by Friday," USDA elaborates. During the weekend, below-normal temperatures will cover virtually the entire U.S., USDA adds. "Meanwhile, most of the week’s precipitation will be associated with a storm system currently centered near the Alabama-Mississippi border," USDA continues. The storm will drift northward into the eastern Corn Belt by mid-week before weakening, producing some 1- to 2-inch rainfall totals along and near its path, according to USDA. During the mid- to late-week period, rain and snow will accompany the surge of cold air into the north-central U.S., USDA reports. "Some of the heaviest snow will fall along the eastern slopes of the northern Rockies," USDA elaborates.