USDA: Light Snow Is Benefitting Soils on the Central and Southern Plains

February 7, 2012 02:16 AM

USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility says on the Plains, colder weather prevails. "However, light snow is providing winter wheat with beneficial moisture and insulation across parts of the central and southern High Plains, mainly from Texas' northern panhandle into southern Nebraska," USDA reports. In Texas, USDA says the lingering effect of a record-setting drought remains apparent in crop conditions, with 43% of the winter wheat and 64% of the rangeland and pastures rated in very poor to poor condition on Feb. 5, according to USDA.

In the West, USDA says much-needed rain is spreading inland across California's coast. However, the state's key watershed areas, including the Sierra Nevada, remain dry, USDA adds, continuing, "Cool, dry weather covers the remainder of the West."

In the Corn Belt, USDA reports a mild weather pattern continues, although colder air is approaching from the west.

In the South, isolated showers are confined to Florida and scattered locations west of the Mississippi Delta, according to USDA. "Elsewhere, mild, dry weather is promoting the growth of pastures and winter grains, except where moisture levels are inadequate to support normal development," USDA explains. In Florida, for example, nearly two-thirds (64%) of the pastures were rated in very poor to poor condition on Feb. 5, according to USDA.

In its outlook, USDA says on Feb. 7-8, a weak storm system currently over the nation’s mid-section will drift eastward, producing a band of light snow from the central Plains to the northern Mid-Atlantic states. "Meanwhile, beneficial precipitation will end later today in California, where the heaviest rain will be confined to coastal locations," USDA says. Elsewhere, significant precipitation during the next five days will be limited to the Pacific Northwest and southern portions of Texas and Florida, USDA explains. USDA continues, "Toward week’s end, a surge of sharply colder air will invade the Midwest and much of the East, while temperatures will rebound to above-normal levels in the West."


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