USDA: Drought-Easing Rains in Southern Plains

08:19AM Dec 19, 2011
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USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility says on the Plains, drought-easing rains are returning to southern parts of the region. "Rain is especially beneficial on the southern High Plains, where winter wheat is poorly established and rangeland and pastures have been slow to rebound from historic drought," USDA reports. Meanwhile, mild, dry weather prevails on the northern Plains, according to USDA.

In the West, rain and snow showers are providing additional drought relief in Arizona and New Mexico, USDA says. In contrast, USDA explains much of California has experienced an extremely slow start to the wet season, resulting in stunted growth of cool-season pastures.

In the Corn Belt, most autumn fieldwork is complete, except for some remaining corn to harvest across eastern portions of the region, according to USDA. "In Ohio and neighboring states, however, corn will have to remain standing in the field until soils fully freeze," USDA says.

In the South, mild, dry weather is promoting late-autumn fieldwork, including final soybean harvesting, USDA reports.

In its outlook, USDA says a developing storm system currently over the southern High Plains will lift northeastward, reaching New England by mid-week. "Precipitation (mostly rain; ending as snow) associated with the storm could total 1 to 2 inches on the central and southern Plains, and as much as an inch farther northeast," USDA says. In the eastern Corn Belt, USDA says rain will further delay final corn harvest operations. "A second storm will quickly follow the first system, resulting in some mid-week snow across the Rockies and High Plains," USDA reports. Late in the week, locally heavy rain will affect the Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic states, according to USDA. "Elsewhere, unfavorably dry conditions will persist in California and the Great Basin," USDA reports.