USDA: Mostly Dry Weather Outside of the Midwest and Northeast

January 17, 2014 02:38 AM

USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility says on the Plains, winter wheat is exposed to potential weather extremes. "Cool, dry weather on the southern and eastern Plains contrasts with mild, dry, breezy conditions across the northern and central High Plains," USDA explains.

In the West, USDA reports unusually warm, dry conditions are causing most areas to slip deeper into drought. "Only Colorado, Montana and Wyoming are largely free of drought, while California, the Great Basin, and parts of the South-west are contending with a third consecutive year of drought," USDA reports. Summer water-supply prospects remain bleak in the driest areas; other concerns include poor rangeland conditions and an elevated threat of wildfires, according to USDA.

In the Corn Belt, USDA says breezy conditions and below-normal temperatures prevail in the wake of a cold front’s passage. "In addition, snow showers linger across the Ohio Valley and the Great Lakes region," USDA adds. Newly fallen snow includes 3 inches in both Des Moines, Iowa, and Indianapolis, Indiana, according to USDA. Early today, sub-zero temperatures were confined to the upper Midwest, including much of Minnesota and the eastern Dakotas, according to USDA.

In the South, USDA reports pockets of frost were noted early today across central and interior southern Florida. "As a result, some citrus, strawberry and vegetables producers had to employ protective measures—such as wind machines, helicopters, and sprinkler systems—to help guard against freeze injury," USDA details. Cool, dry weather prevails across the remainder of the South, except for some snow showers in northern Kentucky, USDA explains.

In its outlook, USDA says the nation will be lacking in major storms during the several days, although a series of Canadian-origin, "clipper-type" systems will traverse the Midwest and Northeast. "Five-day precipitation totals could exceed a half- inch in a few spots, primarily downwind of the Great Lakes due to persistent snow squalls," USDA reports. Dry weather will cover the remainder of the U.S., except for a few showers along the Gulf Coast, according to USDA. Temperatures will remain elevated for this time of year in much of the West, with warmth briefly expanding across the Plains during the weekend, USDA details. In contrast, several surges of cold air will affect the Midwest and East, according to USDA.


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