USDA: Cold Snap Hits the Plains and Midwest

April 14, 2014 03:43 AM

USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility says on the Plains, unusually cold weather prevails. "On the southern High Plains, the cold snap is threatening winter wheat that is already significantly stressed by drought. Freezes were noted this morning throughout eastern Colorado, western Oklahoma, Texas’ northern panhandle, and much of Kansas," USDA details. Jointing winter wheat can typically withstand only a couple of hours with temperatures in the middle to upper 20s before freeze injury occurs, USDA elaborates. "Currently, some light snow lingers in the Dakotas and across the central and southern Plains," USDA reports.

In the West, USDA says warmth is returning to the Pacific Coast States, but chilly conditions linger farther inland. "Today’s high temperatures will reach or exceed 80°F throughout California’s Central Valley," USDA details.

In the Corn Belt, USDA explains unseasonably cold air is arriving in the wake of a cold front’s passage. This morning’s temperatures dipped below 20°F in parts of the upper Midwest. "Meanwhile, snow is falling in portions of the Great Lakes region, mainly in Wisconsin and Upper Michigan, while rain showers extend southward from Lower Michigan," USDA details. Current snow depths include an inch at both Des Moines, Iowa, and Madison, Wisconsin, according to USDA.

In the South, USDA reports warmth lingers along the Atlantic Coast, but showers and thunderstorms have spread as far east as the southern Appalachians. "Sharply colder air is trailing the rain into the Mid-South," USDA reports.

In its outlook, USDA says the NWS has issued freeze warnings for Tuesday morning across an area stretching from the central and southern Plains into the mid-Mississippi Valley and the Mid-South. "Late in the week, another surge of cold air will result in the threat of additional freezes, particularly on the central and southern High Plains," USDA explains. In contrast, USDA reports unusual warmth will prevail in California and occasional spread farther inland. "In the East, precipitation during the first half of the week could reach 1 to 2 inches, with higher amounts possible in the Southeast," USDA continues. During the second half of the week, a similar storm will follow in the footsteps of the earlier system, with rain across the South and East and wet snow in parts of the Midwest, according to USDA.

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