Wind-Driven Snow on Northern Plains

02:32PM Nov 18, 2016
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USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility says on the Plains, wind-blown snow stretches northeastward from Nebraska, benefiting winter wheat but causing travel disruptions and increasing livestock stress. Colder air is sweeping across the region, while unfavorably dry conditions on the central High Plains continue to hamper winter wheat establishment.


Satellite image with enhanced low cloud-top temperatures for 6:45 a .m. EDT (NOAA)

In the West, chilly weather lingers across the Rockies and environs, reports USDA. Freeze warnings are in effect early today in parts of the Southwest. However, temperatures have already rebounded to near-or above-normal levels in the Far West. Dry weather prevails throughout the region, although a new storm is approaching the Northwest.

In the Corn Belt, USDA says snowy, windy weather has halted fieldwork in Nebraska, South Dakota and southeastern North Dakota. Rain is changing to snow in parts of Minnesota. In stark contrast, late-season warmth lingers east of the Mississippi River, favoring final harvest and winter wheat planting efforts.

In the South, punishing drought centered on the southern Appalachians and stretching westward to the Mississippi Delta continues to contribute to a rash of wildfires, impact air quality, reduce surface water availability, severely stress pastures and limit the planting and emergence of winter grains and cover crops, USDA reports.

In its outlook through Nov. 22, USDA says wind-driven snow will end later today or tonight across the north-central U.S. Precipitation will shift into the Great Lakes and Northeastern States during the weekend, with accumulating snow expected as far south as the central Appalachians. A brief surge of cold air in the storm’s wake should result in freezes by Saturday morning as far south as the southern Plains. However, temperatures across the western half of the U.S. will quickly rebound in advance of a new Pacific storm. Late in the weekend and early next week, precipitation could top an inch in parts of the Four Corners States and reach 2 to 5 inches or more in northern California and the Pacific Northwest. In contrast, dry weather can be expected during the next five days across the southern High Plains and the southern Atlantic States, USDA states.