USDA: Planting Delays Limit Impact of Freeze in the South

March 26, 2014 04:04 AM

USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility says in on the Plains, beneficial rain is falling in parts of Texas and southwestern Oklahoma. "However, much more rain is needed on the southern High Plains to alleviate the effects of a 3½-year drought," USDA reports. Elsewhere, cold weather lingers from Montana to North Dakota, but warm, windy weather is overspreading the central Plains, according to USDA.

In the West, USDA reports showery weather prevails in the Pacific Coast States as far south as central California. "However, the late-season precipitation is insufficient to alter California’s bleak runoff and water-supply forecast," USDA adds.

In the Corn Belt, USDA says cold conditions persist. This morning’s temperatures locally dipped below 10°F across the northern tier of the region, from Minnesota to Michigan, USDA details.

In the South, USDA notes freeze warnings are in effect early today, primarily from Mississippi to South Carolina. "Some Southern fruits are blooming and susceptible to freeze injury," USDA details. However, planting of many row crops has been delayed by cool, wet soils, helping to limit freeze impacts, USDA continues. "By March 23, corn was just 14% planted in Georgia (vs. the five-year average of 26%) and 9% planted in Arkansas (vs. the five-year average of 13%)," USDA elaborates.

In its outlook, USDA says for the remainder of today, a powerful Atlantic storm will produce windy conditions in the Northeast, although significant snow will be confined to New England’s immediate coastal areas. "Meanwhile, a disturbance will produce light rain across the southern Plains," USDA reports. On Thursday, a more organized area of precipitation will develop across the Mississippi Valley, with snow expected in the upper Great Lakes region, according to USDA. Late in the week, rain will arrive in the eastern U.S., USDA adds. "Farther west, a wet regime will persist from the Pacific Northwest to the northern Rockies," USDA continues. Five day precipitation totals could reach 4 to 8 inches in the Pacific Northwest and 2 to 4 inches in the northern Rockies, according to USDA. "Parts of northern California will also receive significant precipitation—locally 4 inches or more," USDA adds. Totals could reach 1 to 2 inches across the eastern one-third of the U.S., USDA continues.

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