USDA: Late-Week Snow Expected for Northern Plains, Upper Midwest

December 26, 2012 02:59 AM

USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility says in the Corn Belt, a major winter storm is underway in the Ohio Valley, where frozen precipitation (snow, sleet, and freezing rain) is occurring. "Blizzard warnings are in effect today from near the mouth of the Ohio River into western Ohio," USDA elaborates. Meanwhile, cold, dry weather covers the upper Midwest, where the ground remains snow-covered, USDA adds. "Current snow depths include 6 inches in Des Moines, Iowa, and 4 inches in Omaha, Nebraska," according to USDA.

In the West, USDA says scattered rain and snow showers are most numerous across California, the Intermountain West, and the Northwest. "Pre-holiday storms provided a dramatic boost to high-elevation snow packs in parts of the West; for example, the average water content of the Sierra Nevada snow pack climbed to 12 inches (140% of normal) by Dec. 24, up from 6 inches a week earlier," USDA explains.

On the Plains, USDA says cold, mostly dry weather prevails. "This morning's low temperatures plunged below -10°F as far south as the central High Plains, where only a shallow snow cover exists to help insulate drought-stressed winter wheat. Early today, sub-zero readings were widespread on the northern and central Plains, while temperatures generally ranged from 0°F to 20°F on the southern Plains," USDA explains.

In the South, USDA reports cold, windy weather is spreading into the Gulf Coast states in the wake of a Christmas Day severe weather outbreak that resulted in at least two dozen tornadoes from eastern Texas to southern Alabama. "Farther north, snow is ending across the Mid-South, where travel remains difficult and Little Rock, Arkansas, is reporting a current snow depth of 9 inches," USDA adds. Elsewhere, showers and locally severe thunderstorms are sweeping across the southern Atlantic states, USDA elaborates.

In its outlook, USDA says an active weather pattern will continue through week’s end, along with mostly below-normal temperatures. "Five-day precipitation totals — from two separate storms — could reach 1 to 3 inches in the East," USDA reports. Totals of 1 to 2 inches can be expected in the Pacific Northwest, USDA adds. Late-week snow will occur from the northern Plains into the upper Midwest, according to USDA.

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