USDA: Parts of Southern Plains Have Seen Warm, Dry Conditions Return

January 23, 2012 02:22 AM

USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility says on the Plains, recent storms have improved winter wheat's protective snow cover across northern areas, including Montana and South Dakota. "Meanwhile, parts of the Southern Plains have experienced a recent return to unfavorably warm, dry conditions," USDA reports. In Texas, for example, nearly three-quarters (74%) of the rangeland and pastures were rated in very poor to poor condition on Jan. 15, along with 46% of the winter wheat, according to USDA.

In the West, drier, milder weather is aiding Northwestern recovery efforts from the recent snow and ice storm, USDA says. "Meanwhile, highly beneficial precipitation is falling from California into the Great Basin, as the storm track has temporarily shifted southward," USDA reports.

In the Corn Belt, USDA says frozen precipitation—mostly snow—is falling across the upper Midwest, where snow depths have reached 6 inches in locations such as La Crosse, Wisconsin, and Waterloo, Iowa. "Meanwhile, showers and thunderstorms are perpetuating soggy conditions across the eastern Corn Belt, including Ohio," USDA reports.

In the South, showers and thunderstorms are providing beneficial moisture, USDA says. "However, thunderstorms have also caused localized wind and hail damage, particularly across Arkansas, Mississippi, and Alabama, as well as western portions of Kentucky and Tennessee," USDA says.

In its outlook, USDA says a storm system centered over the Great Lakes region will drift northeastward into eastern Canada and weaken, although precipitation will linger for much of the day across the Great Lakes and eastern states. "Meanwhile, a storm crossing California will reach the south-central U.S. by Wednesday," USDA adds. During the mid- to late-week period, beneficial precipitation will return to areas from the southern Plains into the Southeast, USDA says. Elsewhere, precipitation will also return to the Northwest, while mostly dry weather will prevail across the northern and central Plains, according to USDA.


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