USDA: Late-Season Winter Storm Transversing the Eastern Corn Belt

March 12, 2014 04:06 AM

USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility says in on the Plains, mild weather from Montana to Nebraska contrasts with cooler-than-normal conditions farther south. "In other words, temperatures are fairly uniform across the High Plains, with today’s high temperatures expected to range from 50 to 60°F in most locations," USDA reports. Precipitation is still needed on the Southern Plains to boost topsoil moisture and ease stress on rangeland, pastures and winter wheat, USDA continues.

In the West, USDA says California’s wet season appears to have effectively ended, as warm, dry conditions have engulfed the Pacific Coast states. "At the end of February, storage in California’s 154 intrastate reservoirs stood at just 65% of average, reflective of the drought that began in 2011-12," USDA explains.

In the Corn Belt, USDA reports showers and thunderstorms are sweeping across the Ohio Valley. "Meanwhile, a significant, late-season snow storm is affecting the lower Great Lakes states," USDA adds. Early-morning snow depths associated with the ongoing storm include 5 inches in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and 3 inches in Chicago, Illinois, USDA elaborates.

In the South, USDA reports cool, dry air is spreading across areas from the Mississippi Valley westward. Elsewhere, rain showers are crossing the Southeast, while a few thunderstorms are developing across Florida’s peninsula, USDA continues.

In its outlook, USDA says for the remainder of today, a late-season storm will produce heavy snow from northern Indiana and southern Michigan into New York State. "Overnight and on Thursday, heavy snow will spread into New England," USDA continues. High winds and falling temperatures will accompany the storm, resulting in widespread travel disruptions and possible power outages, USDA elaborates. Farther south, showers and locally severe thunderstorms will accompany the storm’s trailing cold front later today, especially in the Mid-Atlantic states, it continues. "In the storm’s wake, relatively tranquil weather will prevail nearly nationwide for several days, with warmth becoming more pronounced from the Pacific Coast to the northern Plains," USDA explains. Cold weather across the Midwest and East will ease toward week’s end, only to be replaced by another round of below-normal temperatures early next week, according to USDA.

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