USDA: Snowcover Lacking in Northern Plains

January 17, 2012 04:38 AM

USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility cold, dry air is settling southward in the Plains. Only a patchy, shallow snow cover exists in winter wheat areas of the northern Plains, where this morning’s low temperatures generally ranged from 0 to -20°F.

In the West, rain and snow showers are spreading inland from the Pacific Northwest to the northern Rockies. Elsewhere, cool, dry weather prevails. In California, a hard freeze warning is in effect this morning in the Sacramento Valley, while a freeze warning has been issued for the San Joaquin Valley.

In the Corn Belt, USDA says snow is falling across parts of the upper Midwest. This morning’s snow depths include 3 inches at both Des Moines, Iowa, and La Crosse, Wisconsin. Meanwhile, showers and thunderstorms are affecting the southern and eastern Corn Belt.

In the South, USDA says widely scattered showers stretch from eastern Texas to the southern Atlantic States. Most of Florida, however, remains unfavorably dry.

In its outlook, USDA says during the next few days, the brunt of an Arctic blast will affect the northern Plains, Midwest, and Northeast. "Mid-week temperatures near -30°F may occur near the Canadian border from the northern Plains to the upper Great Lakes region. Widespread sub-zero readings can be expected—especially on Thursday morning—as far south as Nebraska and Iowa. Farther west, many of California’s agricultural valleys will experience another significant freeze on Wednesday morning," says USDA. "Meanwhile, an increasingly wet weather pattern will develop from the Pacific Northwest to the northern Rockies. Toward week’s end, much-needed precipitation will spread southward into northern California. Five-day precipitation totals could reach 8 to 12 inches in parts of the Pacific Northwest, and 2 to 4 inches in the northern Rockies. Elsewhere, precipitation will gradually end across the eastern one-third of the U.S., but showers may return to the Southeast toward week’s end."


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