USDA: Late Winter Storm Expected for Nation's Midsection

08:42AM Mar 14, 2014

USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility says on the Plains, cold weather is limited to parts of North Dakota. Elsewhere, mild, mostly dry weather prevails, USDA adds. "Moisture demands for rangeland, pastures and winter grains are increasing across the central and southern Plains due to dry soils and recent warmth," according to USDA.

In the West, USDA reports record-setting warmth is gradually expanding farther inland, causing some premature melting of low-elevation snowpack. "Precipitation is confined to the Pacific Northwest, except for isolated showers in Arizona and New Mexico," USDA reports.

In the Corn Belt, USDA explains lingering cold is mostly limited to the Great Lakes region, where an extensive snow cover persists. "Generally dry weather accompanies the milder conditions," USDA continues.

In the South, USDA reports freeze warnings are in effect this morning in the Atlantic Coast States as far south as Georgia and north-central Florida. "West of the Appalachians, cool conditions are easing in advance of a storm system," USDA details.

In its outlook, USDA says a period of relatively tranquil weather will end during the weekend with the development of a late-winter storm over the nation’s mid-section. "Early next week, the storm will affect the nation’s southeastern quadrant," USDA reports. Frozen precipitation (snow, sleet, and freezing rain) can be expected along the northern fringe of the precipitation shield, with significant snowfall accumulations possible on March 16-17 in the northern Mid-Atlantic states, USDA details. "Meanwhile, storm-total rainfall could reach 1 to 2 inches from the Mid-South into the Southeast, with some 2- to 4- inch totals possible in the southern Atlantic region," USDA continues. Another surge of very cold air will trail the storm into the Midwest and Northeast, while a period of record-setting warmth in the West will end early next week, USDA reports. Elsewhere, dry conditions will persist into next week across California, the Great Basin and the Desert Southwest, according to USDA.