USDA: Mostly Dry Weather Expected for the Southern & Central Plains

February 11, 2014 02:34 AM

USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility says in the Corn Belt, extremely cold conditions are maintaining stress on livestock. "This morning’s temperatures fell below 0°F in virtually the entire region, and plunged below -20°F in parts of the upper Mississippi Valley," USDA details. However, snow continues to insulate most of the Midwestern winter wheat crop, USDA continues.

In the West, USDA reports rain and snow showers continue to dent seasonal precipitation deficits in the Pacific Northwest. "However, California has slipped back into a dry weather regime, following a much-needed stormy period that approximately doubled the water content of the high-elevation Sierra Nevada snowpack," USDA reports. Despite the improvement, the Sierra Nevada snowpack is less than one-third of the mid-February normal, USDA explains.

On the Plains, USDA says cold weather persists in most areas. "However, mild, windy conditions are developing on the northern High Plains, eroding some of winter wheat’s protective snowcover in Montana," USDA continues. A few patches of light snow are affecting the Southern Plains in conjunction with a developing winter storm, USDA details.

In the South, precipitation—mostly rain—is falling from the lower Mississippi Valley to the Carolinas, according to USDA. "However, the northern fringe of the precipitation shield includes snow, sleet and freezing rain, which is causing travel disruptions in the western Carolinas and northern portions of Alabama and Georgia," USDA elaborates.

In its outlook, USDA says during the next two days, a major winter storm will unfold across the South and East. "Storm-total precipitation could reach 1 to 3 inches from the lower Mississippi Valley to the Carolinas, northward into New England," USDA explains. Significant snowfall can be expected from the southern Appalachians to New England, while damaging ice accumulations may occur from the Mississippi Delta to the southern Mid-Atlantic piedmont, USDA continues. "In contrast, mostly dry weather will prevail during the next five days from southern California to the central and southern Plains," USDA reports. Farther north, however, heavy precipitation will overspread the northern Rockies and Pacific Northwest, with 4- to 10-inch totals possible in the latter region, according to USDA.

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