USDA: Frigid Temps in Oklahoma & Texas Threaten Winter Wheat

March 26, 2013 03:17 AM

USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility says on the Plains, unusually cold conditions persist. Freeze warnings are in effect this morning in parts of Oklahoma and Texas, where the cold weather poses a threat to winter wheat, USDA elaborates. "In Oklahoma, where 41% of the winter wheat was jointing by March 24, today’s lows generally ranged from 10 to 25°F," USDA explains. In addition, the Plains’ winter wheat crop continues to struggle due to ongoing drought, according to USDA. "On March 24, the portion of the wheat rated very poor to poor included 71% in South Dakota, 61% in Nebraska, and 47% in Colorado and Texas," USDA reports.

In the West, USDA says isolated showers are confined to the northern half of the region, despite an increase in cloudiness across the Southwest. "Warmth is expanding from the Pacific Coast states into the Southwest, but chilly conditions persist in the Rockies," USDA adds.

In the Corn Belt, USDA says cold, breezy weather prevails. "A few snow showers linger across the eastern Corn Belt," USDA continues. "This morning’s temperatures fell below 0°F in parts of the far upper Midwest, including much of North Dakota," USDA details. Current snow depths include 10 inches in Grand Forks, North Dakota, and 6 inches in Indianapolis, Indiana, according to USDA.

In the South, USDA says freeze warnings are in effect this morning from central and eastern Texas to Georgia. "The ongoing cold weather poses a potential threat to em erging summer crops and blooming fruit crops," USDA says. For example, Georgia’s peaches were 74% in bloom by March 24, while 20% of Louisiana’s corn had emerged, according to USDA.

In its outlook, USDA says fairly tranquil weather will prevail nearly nationwide until late in the week, when precipitation will develop across the nation’s mid-section and gradually spread into the East. "Five-day precipitation totals could reach 1 to 2 inches across the southeastern Plains and the Mid-South, as well as the Pacific Northwest," USDA reports. Meanwhile, dry weather will prevail in the Southwest, USDA adds. Elsewhere, warmth will continue to expand across the West, reaching the High Plains late in the week, according to USDA. "During the weekend, however, a new surge of cold air will arrive across the northern Plains and upper Midwest," it continues.

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