USDA: Snow Cover Subsides on Northern Plains

January 8, 2013 03:19 AM

USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility says cool conditions linger across Texas, but mild, dry weather prevails across the remainder of the nation’s mid-section. On the Northern Plains, windy weather is contributing to the erosion of winter wheat’s protective snow cover.

In the West, USDA says cool weather lingers in the Four Corners States, but mild air is overspreading the remainder of the region. Scattered showers are confined to the Pacific Northwest. In California, dry weather favors mid-winter fieldwork, including citrus and vegetable harvest activities.

In the Corn Belt, USDA says mild weather is starting to melt a snow cover that has persisted for two to three weeks across the Ohio Valley and the upper Midwest. In the last 24 hours, snow depths have declined an inch in both Des Moines, Iowa (currently 4 inches), and Indianapolis, Indiana (2 inches).

In the South, USDA says rain is developing in the western Gulf Coast region. Elsewhere, mild, dry weather favors fieldwork, including harvesting of early- and mid-season oranges in Florida. However, soil moisture shortages persist across the lower Southeast. On January 6, Florida’s soil moisture was rated 40% very short to short.

In its outlook, USDA says a suddenly more active weather pattern will develop for the remainder of the week. A storm system currently centered over northern Mexico will drift northeastward, reaching the upper Great Lakes region by Friday. "Storm-total rainfall could reach 2 to 4 inches, with locally higher amounts, from eastern Texas into lower portions of the Mississippi and Ohio Valleys, possibly causing some areas of flooding. Toward week’s end, a second storm system will emerge from the Rockies, providing beneficial snow to the northern Plains and upper Midwest, but triggering a second round of heavy rain in parts of the South. Combined, the two storms could produce as much as 4 to 8 inches of rain from eastern Texas into the Mid-South. Elsewhere, the southern Plains will also receive beneficial precipitation, but the Southwest and the southern Atlantic region will remain mostly dry through week’s
end," it says.


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