USDA: Cold Temps Maintain Threat to Winter Wheat & Livestock

January 28, 2014 02:56 AM

USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility says on the Plains, sub-zero temperatures persist as far south as Nebraska, maintaining the threat to winter wheat that has been exposed to the cold waves of Jan. 6, 23, and 27-28. "Meanwhile, a little bit of light snow is falling on the central and southern High Plains," USDA reports.

In the West, USDA says a slight change in the weather pattern is resulting in some light precipitation along and near the northern Pacific Coast. "However, unfavorably warm, dry conditions persist in California, the Great Basin, and the Desert Southwest," USDA reports. Half of Arizona’s rangeland and pastures were rated in very poor to poor condition on Jan. 26, up from 25% a week earlier, according to USDA.

In the Corn Belt, USDA says very cold conditions persist, although winds have become calm in the middle Mississippi Valley and have diminished elsewhere. "This morning’s temperatures fell below 0°F in most areas north of a line from northern Missouri to southern Indiana," USDA explains. A little bit of winter wheat, mainly in northern Missouri and central Illinois, was exposed to sub-zero temperatures without the benefit of a protective snowcover, USDA reports.

In the South, USDA says a sprawling, dangerous winter storm is underway. "The NWS has issued winter storm warnings for a broad area from southeastern Texas to the Carolinas and southeastern Virginia, including Florida’s panhandle," USDA details. Wintry precipitation (snow, sleet, and freezing rain) has already developed this morning from eastern Texas into southern Mississippi, causing significant travel disruptions, USDA explains.

In its outlook, USDA says major travel and electrical disruptions will remain a threat across the Deep South into Wednesday, with heavy snow expected from parts of northern and central Georgia to the southern Mid-Atlantic coastal plain. "Freezing rain can be expected from northwestern Florida to the coastal Carolinas," USDA details. Farther west, an increase in storminess will provide beneficial moisture as far south as northern California and the central Rockies, although areas from southern California to the Southern Plains will remain dry, according to USDA. Frigid conditions will gradually ease in many areas, but cold weather will persist across the northern Plains and the Midwest, USDA adds.

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