USDA: Shallow Snowcover Protects Winter Wheat from Bitter Cold

January 2, 2014 02:37 AM

USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility says on the Plains, a fresh albeit mostly shallow snowcover is protecting winter wheat from bitter cold. "Temperatures this morning are averaging more than 20°F below normal from the Dakotas into Kansas," USDA details.

In the West, USDA says mild, dry weather prevails, except for a few rain and snow showers across the region’s northern tier. With respect to the early-December cold snap in California’s San Joaquin Valley, USDA reports that "Navel oranges and mandarins sustained some freeze damage," and that "damaged fruit was sent to be juiced."

In the Corn Belt, USDA says cold weather is maintaining stress on livestock, particularly across the Upper Midwest. "This morning’s temperatures again plunged below -20°F in parts of eastern North Dakota and northern Minnesota," USDA elaborates.

In the South, dry, cold conditions in Texas contrast with warm, wet weather in the Southeast, USDA reports. "In parts of the Southeast, soils remain too wet for fieldwork in the wake of recent downpours," USDA adds.

In its outlook, USDA says for today, a large unorganized area of unsettled weather over the eastern third of the nation will shift east, while a new, potent Nor’easter rapidly develops and intensifies off the Mid-Atlantic Coast. "This storm will bring locally heavy snow, strong winds, a nd rapidly falling temperatures from the northern Mid-Atlantic to New England, while a trailing cold front will generate showers and thunderstorms across the Southeast," USDA elaborates. Meanwhile, a warm up on the Plains will be short-lived, with above-normal temperatures on Friday replaced by readings up to 20 to 40°F below normal over the weekend, according to USDA. This arctic blast is expected to overspread much of the central and eastern U.S. by early next week, USDA adds. Out west, upslope snow is expected in the central and northern Rockies, while much- needed rain and mountain snow return to the Northwest, USDA continues. "In contrast, unfavorably dry conditions will persist from the Southwest to the Southern Plains," USDA reports.


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