Agricultural interests and residents concerned about water resources in much of the Midwest got their wish for snow cover this winter season. However, the snow and lingering winter conditions will lead to planting delays.
As of the start of the week of March 25, nearly 50 percent of the nation was blanketed by snow.
In portions of the Midwest, the snow cover was more than a few inches deep. In northern areas, the snow depth is a couple of feet.
Even though milder air will visit the Midwest in the coming days causing the snow to melt, the remaining snow cover will limit the warming over the region.
Waiting for the thaw. (Photos.com image and thumbnail)
Snowcover reflects sunlight. While it does insulate the ground and sprouting vegetation from severe cold air, it also tends to keep the ground cold and wet during the first part of the spring.
Planting can be delayed by up to a few weeks in some areas due to the cold, wet ground, or in some cases even from existing snow on the ground.
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According to Agricultural Weather Expert Jason Nicholls, "Corn is usually planted around late March in portions of Missouri and Kentucky and advances northward over the Midwest into April and May."
However, soil temperatures have a way to go before reaching the critical mark of 50 degrees in these areas.
While no-till farming is common practice on large tracts of land these days, tilling the fields in cases such as this may help accelerate the warming of the soil, if done during a spell of warm, sunny weather. Farmers considering this practice will have to weigh the extra costs involved and the potential for early spring freezes.
"Another concern that was practically non-existent last spring, but may exist for some agricultural tracts this spring, is the risk of flooding," Nicholls added.
The melting snow will release its moisture either gradually with the aid of the sun or quickly during drenching rainstorms. The latter could be an issue for part of the corn belt and other areas farther east into the spring, away from the High Plains, which are already experiencing building drought conditions.
Planting interests from the Midwest to the mid-Atlantic and mid-South may trouble finding many days like this over the next couple of weeks with additional waves of cold air and freezing temperatures likely.
Since the waves of cold air are not yet dismissed, neither can the possibility of freak, late-season snowstorms in the region. Fortunately, these tend to become much more rare and affect a small area moving forward into April.
More than two dozen people have died in West Virginia as a result of extreme flooding that inundated portions of the state on Thursday.
Another round of sizzling heat threatens to aggravate the ongoing wildfire situation across the southwestern United States through early week.
Following a rain-free weekend for many in the Northeast, residents may be wondering if this is a sign of things to come for July.
The next round of thunderstorm downpours will swing into the Appalachians with the risk of isolated flash flooding on Monday.
With the start of summer comes more time traveling and the unfortunate mess some items will leave if left baking in a hot car.
Showers threaten to cause delays on a nearly daily basis next week at the 2016 Wimbledon Championships.
Aroostook Co., ME (1991)
One-half inch diameter hail.
Clanton, AL (1991)
6.56" of rain in 24 hours.
Austin, TX (1992)
1.63" of rain for a yearly total of 32.67". (Normal for an entire year is 31.50").