USDA: Major Storm 'Denting' Plains Drought

February 21, 2013 02:35 AM

USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility says a major winter storm is denting drought across the Plains, but causing travel disruptions and an increase in livestock stress. "The most significant snow is falling across the central Plains, while mixed precipitation (snow, sleet, freezing rain, and rain) is affecting the southern Plains. Gusty easterly winds accompany the snow," it notes. " Early-morning snow depths included 9 inches in Wichita, Kansas, and 3 inches in Enid, Oklahoma."

In the West, USDA says cool weather covers the region in the wake of a departing storm. A few snow showers linger across the central and southern Rockies and the Southwest.

In the Corn Belt, USDA says cold, dry weather prevails in advance of an approaching storm. "Frozen precipitation is just starting to overspread the southwestern Corn Belt, including parts of Missouri," it states.

In the South, USDA notes an ice storm is affecting the Ozark Plateau, including southern Missouri and northern Arkansas. Elsewhere, rain showers are developing in the western Gulf Coast region, while dry weather prevails in the Southeast.

In its outlook, USDA says cold weather will continue to dominate the nation into early next week, especially across the western two-thirds of the U.S. "Meanwhile, a developing storm system over the south-central U.S. will drift northeastward, reaching the Great Lakes region late in the week. Snow will blanket areas from the central Plains into the upper Midwest and Northeast, while ice accumulations can be expected from the Mid-South into the lower Great Lakes region and the northern Mid-Atlantic States," it states. "Along the storm’s trailing cold front, heavy showers and locally severe thunderstorms will sweep from the southern Plains into the Southeast. Toward week’s end, a new storm system will produce widespread precipitation from the Pacific Northwest to the Rockies. Snow will return to portions of the Plains early next week, while additional rain will fall across the South. Five-day rainfall totals (through Monday) could reach 2 to 8 inches from the central Gulf Coast to the Carolinas."


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