USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility says on the Plains, temperatures have plunged below -20°F in parts of Montana, although freshly fallen snow is helping to insulate winter wheat. Some concern exists for wheat on the central High Plains, especially where temperatures have fallen below 0°F without the benefit of a protective snow cover. Finally, precipitation is just starting to develop across the southern Plains, where a major snow and ice storm will unfold today, USDA comments.
In the West, USDA notes very cold, dry weather prevails, except for lingering snow in the southern Rockies. Freezes were noted throughout California's Central Valley, requiring producers to utilize protective measures to guard against damage to temperature-sensitive crops such as citrus. Freezes were also noted in most of northern and central California all the way to the Pacific Coast, USDA says.
In the Corn Belt, USDA reports a sharp cold front separates warm air in the middle Ohio Valley and lower Great Lakes region from cold, windy weather farther west. Recently fallen snow blankets the upper Midwest, where this morning's temperatures generally ranged from -5 to 10°F.
In the South, sharply colder air is overspreading the northwestern fringe of the region, including the Ozark Plateau, USDA states. Elsewhere, scattered showers dot the Southeast and extend along a strong cold front from Kentucky to Arkansas. Late-season fieldwork continues in the Southeast, where conditions permit, USDA notes.
In its outlook, USDA says during the next two days, accumulating snow will spread from Oklahoma to southern New England, while a disruptive ice storm will occur from central Texas into the Ohio Valley. Meanwhile, a southbound storm along the Pacific Coast will produce snow in parts of Oregon, California, and the Intermountain West on Dec. 6-7. That storm. says USDA, will eventually result in another round of wintry precipitation, primarily on Dec. 8, in the Mid-Atlantic States. Five-day precipitation totals of 2 to 6 inches can be expected from the Mid-South into the northern Mid-Atlantic States. Elsewhere, very cold conditions will persist through week's end from the Pacific Coast to the Mississippi Valley, with additional freezes expected in California's winter agricultural areas, USDA observes.