USDA: Southern Plains Could Receive 2 to 4 Inches of Rain

October 5, 2011 03:15 AM

USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility says on the Plains, record-setting warmth persists across the northern half of the region. Today's high temperatures will approach 90°F as far north as the Dakotas. "Meanwhile, isolated (and much-needed) showers are developing on the southern High Plains, signaling the beginning of an important change in the weather pattern," USDA explains.

In the West, USDA says widespread rain and snow showers accompany sharply colder conditions. "Winter storm warnings are in effect at high-elevation locations from the Sierra Nevada to the central Rockies," USDA adds. The sudden turn toward cool, wet weather is restricting fieldwork but establishing mountain snow packs and boosting topsoil moisture for emerging winter grains, USDA reports.

In the Corn Belt, very warm, dry weather is providing nearly ideal conditions for corn and soybean maturation and harvesting, according to USDA. In addition, USDA says planting activities are accelerating in the soft red winter wheat belt.

In the South, mild, dry weather continues to promote summer crop harvesting and early-season winter wheat planting, USDA says. "By Oct. 2, the southeastern cotton harvest ranged from 1% complete in Virginia to 15% complete in South Carolina, while winter wheat planting was 2% complete in North Carolina," USDA adds.

In its outlook, USDA says a complex storm system over the West will drift eastward, reaching the Plains late in the week. "Early-season snow will accumulate from the Sierra Nevada to the central Rockies, while some Western valleys could receive more than an inch of rain," USDA adds. Toward week’s end, USDA says locally severe thunderstorms will erupt on the Plains. "Rain will linger into the weekend across the central and southern Plains, where storm totals could locally reach 2 to 4 inches," USDA reports. In contrast, USDA says warm, dry weather will prevail during the next fivedays from the Mississippi Valley to the Atlantic Seaboard, except for a return of heavy showers to Florida. "By early next week, rain will begin to creep northward into the Southeast," according to USDA.


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