Very cold weather covers the Heartland
Across the Corn Belt, another blast of cold air has arrived, accompanied by gusty winds. Upper Midwestern livestock have experienced a difficult month, highlighted by persistently cold, windy weather and occasional snow. Tuesday morning’s low temperatures plunged to -20°F or below in large sections of Minnesota and portions of neighboring states. Chilly, blustery conditions also cover the remainder of the Midwest, while snow showers linger downwind of the Great Lakes.
On the Plains, a glancing shot of Arctic air is resulting in cooler conditions. However, Tuesday’s high temperatures will remain below 0°F in eastern North Dakota. Meanwhile, some beneficial snow has developed across the northern and central High Plains, where colder air is pushing against the eastern slopes of the Rockies. In contrast, extremely dry conditions persist across the southern Plains, where drought continues. On January 23, more than two-thirds (71%) of Texas’ winter wheat crop was rated in very poor to poor condition, according to USDA/NASS.
In the South, rain is spreading eastward along and near the Gulf Coast. Farther north, dry weather favors off-season farm activities. Producers in Florida are monitoring the impacts of Monday’s frost on a variety of temperature-sensitive crops; preliminary reports indicate it was a relatively minor agricultural freeze in most areas.
In the West, generally mild, dry weather prevails, although some colder air and snow showers are affecting the eastern slopes of the northern and central Rockies. Favorable Western storminess in October and December has been offset by mostly dry conditions in November and January, leaving much of the region in need of late-winter storminess to make further gains in combating the effects of long-term drought.