USDA: Rain in Southern Plains Easing Drought

January 25, 2012 02:05 AM

USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility says on the Plains, rain is falling from central Texas into eastern Oklahoma. "The southern Plains' showers and thunderstorms are easing drought but causing localized flash flooding and wind damage," USDA reports. Meanwhile on the northern Plains, USDA says mild, breezy weather is eroding winter wheat's protective snow cover.

In the West, USDA says scattered rain and snow showers are confined to areas from the northern Pacific Coast to the northern Rockies. "Dry weather has returned to most of California, following beneficial precipitation," USDA explains. The water content of the high-elevation Sierra Nevada snow pack improved to 6 inches (40% of average for the date) by Jan. 24, up from a mid-January value of 2 inches (10%), according to USDA.

In the Corn Belt,USDA reports rain is spreading into southern portions of Illinois and Missouri, while a few snow showers are affecting the upper Mississippi Valley. "Mild, dry weather covers the remainder of the Midwest," USDA adds.

In the South, USDA reports locally severe thunderstorms are sweeping across southern and eastern Texas, while rain showers are is falling as far east as the Tennessee Valley. "Areas most in need of drought relief include the Gulf Coast region — including southern and eastern Texas — and the southern Atlantic coastal plain," USDA explains.

In its outlook, USDA says a storm system centered over Texas will drift eastward, reaching the Atlantic Seaboard by week’s end. "Additional rainfall could reach 1 to 3 inches from eastern Texas into the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys, and eventually the Northeast," USDA adds. Heavy snow associated with the storm will be confined to northern New England, according to USDA. Meanwhile, USDA says only light rain can be expected in the southern Atlantic States. "Elsewhere, periods of rain and snow will continue in the Northwest, but mostly dry weather will prevail through the end of the week from California into the Southwest, and from the northern and central Plains into the upper Midwest," USDA explains.


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