Drought Intensifying Amid Dry Weather on the Plains

Posted on 03/09/2017 10:19 AM

USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility says on the Plains, dry weather is exacerbating drought in southern portions of the region. "In particular, winter wheat is poorly established from eastern Colorado into Kansas and Oklahoma, where moisture is sorely needed to stabilize a crop stressed by autumn dryness and recent temperature extremes," USDA details.

In the West, USDA reports rain and snow showers extend inland from the Pacific Northwest to the northern Rockies. "Dry weather covers the remainder of the region," it adds. In the Desert Southwest, mostly sunny skies favor a return to fieldwork, following recent rainfall; Arizona’s cotton harvest was 97% complete by Dec. 25, USDA continues.

In the Corn Belt, USDA says snow showers in the Great Lakes and upper Midwest contrast with mild, dry weather west of the Mississippi. "Most Midwestern winter wheat is currently devoid of snow cover," it adds.

In the South, cooler, breezy weather has settled over the region following yesterday’s showers, according to USDA. The recent spell of wet weather has help ed the Southeast recover from a serious autumn drought; however, streamflows and soil moisture remain well below normal, indicating much more rain is needed to eradicate the drought, USDA continues.

In its outlook through Dec. 27, USDA says New England snow will subside as a strong area of low pressure lifts into Canada. In the storm’s wake, high pressure will briefly settle over the Southeast before shifting offshore. "Over the weekend, a weak area of low pressure and its trailing cold front will bring snow back into the Great Lakes and Northeast, while rain is expected from the Ohio Valley and Mid-Atlantic States to the Gulf Coast," USDA reports. Dry conditions will linger over the central and southern Plains, where drought continues to intensify, it continues. "In contrast, unsettled weather will prevail out west; in the Northwest, today’s dissipating rain and snow showers will be followed by a fresh round of snow and coastal rain on New Year ’s Day, while a pair of disturbances triggers rain and mountain snow from southern California into the lower Four Corners Region," according to USDA. For next week, it says arctic air will surge over northern portions of the Rockies and Plains, while warmth lingers in the East.


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