USDA: High Temps on the Plains Eacerbating Drought Impacts

March 8, 2012 02:14 AM

USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility says in the Corn Belt, showers are sweeping through the Ohio Valley, maintaining abundant soil moisture for winter wheat development. "Dry, mild weather prevails across the western half of the region," USDA explains.

In the West, USDA reports dry, cold weather prevails following yesterday's much-needed snow in the eastern Great Basin and central Rockies. "Nevertheless, very low mountain snowpacks persist from the Sierra Nevada into the central and southern Rockies, leading to bleak spring runoff prospects," USDA adds.

On the Plains, USDA says colder weather is settling into southern portions of the region. "Yesterday's highs topped 80°F in parts of Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas, exacerbating drought impacts on early winter wheat development," USDA elaborates. Meanwhile, notably warmer conditions are rapidly returning to the northern Plains, where today's highs are expected to average more than 10°F above normal, according to USDA.

In the South, USDA says mild, dry weather continues across the Southeast, promoting fieldwork and winter wheat development. "Meanwhile, increasingly heavy showers are developing over the Delta and Tennessee Valley," USDA explains.

USDA's outlook says a cold front will generate showers across the eastern third of the nation, although rain will mostly bypass drought areas of the Southeast and Florida. "However, the tail end of the front will stall and interact with an influx of Gulf moisture, leading to locally heavy showers and thunderstorms from eastern portions of Texas and Oklahoma into the Delta and Tennessee Valley," USDA reports. By early next week, Gulf moisture will begin to surge northward, increasing chances for rain in the middle Mississippi Valley and eastern Corn Belt, USDA adds. "Out west, an approaching frontal system will bring rain and mountain snow to the Pacific Northwest, while the remainder of the west remains dry and increasingly warm," according to USDA.


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