USDA: Record-setting Warmth Continues on the Plains

08:15AM Jan 04, 2012
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USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility says on the Plains, record-setting warmth continues, especially across the northern half of the region. "Today's high temperatures may exceed 60°F as far north as Montana's High Plains. As a result, winter wheat remains exposed to potential weather extremes," USDA explains.

In the West, USDA reports rain is developing along the northern Pacific Coast in advance of a cold front. "Elsewhere, mild, dry weather prevails," USDA adds. Short-term drought continues to develop across much of California and the Intermountain West, with adverse effects on agriculture (e.g., pasture conditions) and recreation (e.g., lack of high-elevation snow), according to USDA.

In the Corn Belt, chilly weather lingers across eastern areas, but mild air is gradually expanding across the remainder of the Midwest. In Ohio, USDA explains frozen fields are allowing final corn harvest efforts to proceed.

"In the South, freeze warnings are in effect this morning throughout Florida's peninsula, except along the southeastern coastal region," USDA says. Many producers are employing protective measures to help guard against damage to citrus, vegetables, strawberries, and other temperature-sensitive crops, USDA reports.

In its outlook, USDA says most of the nation will experience dry weather for the remainder of the week. "By Thursday, snow showers downwind of the Great Lakes will end, while heavy precipitation in the Northwest will diminish," USDA explains. Meanwhile, mid-winter warmth will gradually expand eastward from the western and central U.S., according to USDA. However, USDA says before warm weather arrives, some additional frost can be expected on Thursday morning as far south as interior southern Florida. "Late in the week, generally light precipitation will develop across the Southeast," according to USDA.