USDA: Drought Remains a Major Concern for HRW Wheat Crop

February 5, 2013 02:16 AM

USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility says on the Plains, bitterly cold conditions are limited to the eastern Dakotas. "Elsewhere, mild, dry weather prevails, although dense fog blankets portions of the southeastern Plains," USDA reports. Drought concerns persist with respect to the hard red winter wheat crop; by the end of January, at least half of the crop was rated in very poor to poor condition in Oklahoma (69%), South Dakota (66%) and Nebraska (50%), according to USDA.

In the West, USDA says precipitation is spreading inland across the Pacific Northwest. "Dry weather covers the remainder of the region," USDA reports.

In the Corn Belt, USDA reports snow showers are falling in the Great Lakes region, where cold conditions persist. "Elsewhere in the Midwest, generally dry weather accompanies a warming trend," USDA adds. Current snow depths include 3 inches in Des Moines, Iowa; Chicago, Illinois; and Fort Wayne, Indiana, USDA elaborates.

In the South, USDA says scattered rain showers are spreading across the lower Southeast, although Florida's peninsula remains unfavorably dry. Elsewhere, warm, dry weather favors off-season fieldwork, USDA adds.

In its outlook, USDA says rain will develop by mid-week in the western Gulf Coast region and gradually spread into the Southeast. Storm-total rainfall could reach 1 to 2 inches in the Gulf and Atlantic Coast states, except for lighter amounts in southern Florida, USDA continues. "Farther north, some late-week snow, sleet, and freezing rain will affect the nation’s northeastern quadrant," USDA says. Farther west, USDA reports mid-week precipitation in the Northwest will shift into the Intermountain region toward week’s end. "Five-day precipitation totals could reach 1 to 3 inches in the Pacific Northwest, while lighter amounts can be expected farther inland," USDA explains. Mostly dry weather will prevail across the nation’s mid-section for the remainder of the week, although some precipitation may develop across the central and southern Plains during the weekend, according to USDA. Elsewhere, USDA says cold conditions will gradually ease from the Great Lakes states into the Northeast, but colder air will overspread the West by week’s end.

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