USDA: Midwest & Northern Plains Brace for Blizzard

December 19, 2012 01:59 AM

USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility says in the Corn Belt, mild, dry weather prevails in advance of an approaching storm system. "A generally shallow snow cover blankets portions of the northern Corn Belt; current depths include an inch in Madison, Wisconsin, and Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota," USDA reports.

In the West, USDA says freeze warnings are in effect this morning in portions of California's San Joaquin Valley, where some producers are taking measures to protect citrus and other temperature-sensitive crops. "However, valley temperatures are not low enough to cause significant freeze-injury concern," USDA explains. Elsewhere, a new storm is maintaining showery conditions in the Pacific Northwest, while precipitation lingers in the Four Corners states, according to USDA.

On the Plains, USDA reports a developing storm centered near the Texas-New Mexico border is producing increasingly windy conditions across the southern half of the region. "Markedly colder air is overspreading the northern and central High Plains, while warmth lingers across the southeastern Plains," USDA explains.

In the South, USDA says mild, dry weather favors fieldwork, including late-season harvest activities.

In its outlook, USDA says for today and Thursday, winter storm warnings are in effect from central portions of the Rockies and Plains northeastward into parts of Wisconsin and Michigan. "Blizzard conditions can be expected in some areas on Dec. 19-20, mainly on the central High Plains and across parts of Iowa and southern Wisconsin," USDA explains. Storm-total snowfall may exceed a foot from Iowa to northern Michigan, USDA adds. "Meanwhile, Dec. 20-21 rainfall totals of 1 to 3 inches will be common in the Northeast," USDA reports. Farther west, late-week temperatures will quickly rebound to above-normal levels across the south-central U.S., USDA explains. By early next week, however, a new storm will cause temperatures to plunge across the western and central U.S., USDA continues. "Significant precipitation will accompany the storminess; five-day precipitation totals through early Monday, Dec. 24, will reach 4 to 10 inches in parts of northern California and the Pacific Northwest," USDA elaborates.

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