USDA: Mild Weather to Dominate Through Midweek

February 18, 2014 03:09 AM

USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility says in the Corn Belt, cold conditions linger in the lower Great Lakes region, where snow is ending. However, mild weather is overspreading the remainder of the Midwest, USDA adds. "Nevertheless, a substantial snowcover remains in place; current depths include 23 inches in Muskegon, Michigan, and 14 inches in Chicago, Illinois," USDA explains.

In the West, USDA reports ight precipitation is confined to the northern tier of the region. "Unusual warmth prevails in most areas, particularly from California to the southern Rockies," USDA details. The water equivalent of the high-elevation Sierra Nevada snowpack remains at 6 inches, approximately one-quarter of the mid-February normal, according to USDA.

On the Plains, USDA says hard red winter wheat remains largely devoid of a protective snow cover. "In fact, unusual warmth dominates the central and southern Plains," USDA adds. Today’s high temperatures will top 80°F in parts of Texas, USDA elaborates.

In the South, USDA says a return to mild weather is helping to melt any remaining snow in the southern Mid-Atlantic states. "Roanoke, Virginia, still has 7 inches of snow on the ground early today," USDA reports. Farther south, today’s high temperatures will approach or reach 80°F in the western Gulf Coast region and across Florida’s peninsula, USDA continues.

In its outlook, USDA says for the remainder of today, snow will continue to affect portions of the Northeast. Mild weather will dominate much of the remainder of the nation through mid-week, USDA reports. During the second half of the week, however, somewhat cooler air will overspread the western half of the U.S., USDA continues. "And toward week’s end, very cold weather will return to the northern Plains and upper Midwest," USDA continues. Meanwhile, USDA reports a generally active weather pattern will prevail, although dry conditions will persist from central and southern California to the southern Plains. "Five-day precipitation totals could reach 2 to 6 inches in the Pacific Northwest and 1 to 4 inches in the northern Rockies," USDA details. Periods of precipitation will also affect areas from the Mississippi Valley to the East Coast, with 1- to 3-inch totals possible, according to USDA. "East of the Rockies, the greatest opportunity for significant snow will occur on Feb. 20-21 from the upper Midwest into the upper Great Lakes region," USDA explains.

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