USDA: Snowcover in the Northern Plains Is Patchy and Shallow

January 24, 2012 02:21 AM

USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility says on the Plains, mostly dry weather prevails, despite an increase in cloudiness. "Across the Northern Plains, winter wheat's protective snow cover is patchy and shallow," USDA adds. More precipitation is also needed on the Southern Plains, where more than three-quarters (78%) of the rangeland and pastures in Texas were rated in very poor to poor condition on Jan. 22, according to USDA.

In the West, USDA says the latest in a series of Pacific storms is approaching the northern Pacific Coast. "Precipitation (rain and snow) is moving into western portions of Washington and Oregon," USDA continues. According to USDA, rangeland in California's Sacramento Valley has begun to green in response to recent precipitation. "Farther east, snow is falling in parts of the central and southern Rockies, in conjunction with a developing storm system," USDA explains.

In the Corn Belt, USDA says a few snow showers linger in the vicinity of the Great Lakes. "Mild, dry weather covers the remainder of the Midwest," USDA explains. In the wake of recent storms, USDA reports snow covers roughly the northern half of the region, while soggy conditions persist in much of the eastern Corn Belt.

In the South, isolated rain showers linger from southern Texas to the coastal Carolinas, USDA says. "Drought remains a significant concern in many areas, including Florida's peninsula," USDA reports. Statewide, nearly half (42%) of Florida's pastures were rated in very poor to poor condition on Jan. 22, according to USDA.

In its outlook, USDA says a developing storm over the south-central U.S. will drift northeastward, reaching the Mid-Atlantic States by Friday. "Storm-total rainfall could reach 1 to 3 inches along and near the storm’s path, with locally higher amounts possible from the western Gulf Coast region into the lower Mississippi Valley," USDA explains. As the storm intensifies along the northern Atlantic Coast, late-week precipitation may change to snow before ending across the interior Northeast, according to USDA. "Elsewhere, significant precipitation will be largely confined to the Northwest, where the Cascades could receive liquid totals of 2 to 4 inches or more," USDA explains.


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