USDA: Storm Across Nation's Midsection Producing Varied Extreme Weather

March 19, 2012 03:15 AM

USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility says on the Plains, wind-driven snow on Montana's High Plains is causing travel disruptions but providing highly beneficial moisture for winter wheat. "Meanwhile, showers and thunderstorms are sweeping across the central and southern Plains," USDA reports. However, USDA says significant rainfall has bypassed the driest areas of the southern High Plains.

In the West, USDA says cool weather prevails. "Frost and freeze advisories are in effect this morning in a few areas, including southwestern Oregon and some of southern California's interior valleys," USDA reports, continuing "Snow showers linger across the Intermountain West and the Southwest, while precipitation is returning to the Pacific Northwest."

In the Corn Belt, USDA says historic, early-season warmth continues. In some Midwestern locations, today will mark the fifth consecutive day with highs of 80°F or greater. "Isolated showers and thunderstorms are mainly confined to the western half of the Corn Belt," USDA adds.

In the South, USDA explains warm, mostly dry weather is promoting a rapid pace of fieldwork and crop development. "However, drought remains a significant concern in some areas, especially across the lower Southeast," according to USDA.

In its outlook, USDA says a slow-moving storm covering the nation’s mid-section will continue to produce a variety of extreme weather conditions. "Later today, for example, an outbreak of severe thunderstorms will affect areas from the eastern Plains into the Mississippi Valley," USDA reports. Meanwhile, USDA says early- to mid-week downpours (locally 5 to 10 inches) will cause flooding from the southeastern Plains into the lower Mississippi Valley. "Farther north, heavy, wind-driven snow will subside later today across the northern High Plains," USDA reports. Historic and phenomenal early-season warmth will continue for the remainder of the week across the Midwest, with some westward expansion of the warmth after midweek across the northern Plains and Intermountain West, according to USDA. Elsewhere, USDA says an early-week chill across the West will shift into the south-central U.S. "By mid-week, Western temperatures will quickly rebound, except along the Pacific Coast," according to USDA.


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