Wheat Belt Storm on the Way

December 1, 2011; 5:43 AM ET
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Winter wheat on rolling hills. (Photo by Frank Pali, photos.com)

A storm at the end of the week will produce a bountiful area of moisture for needy wheat belt areas of the southern Plains.

The same weather pattern responsible for high winds in the Southwest during the second half of this week will spin up and send a storm out from the deserts Friday. The storm will then be forced northeastward this weekend across the Plains.

The storm will spread its precipitation from southwest to northeast across the southern Plains from Friday and Saturday.

Areas forecast to be affected by the storm include western and northern Texas, much of Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri and southeastern Colorado.

The storm has the potential to drop a general 1 to perhaps 2 inches of water on the region, consisting of rain, ice and snow.

The location of the rain/snow line is a bit questionable at this point, but will likely straddle Kansas, the Oklahoma Panhandle and the northern Texas Panhandle with snow to the northwest and rain to the southeast. In between, a zone of ice is possible.

According to Agricultural Meteorologist Dale Mohler, "The winter wheat, which sprouted weeks earlier, goes dormant this time of the year, much like lawns do in northern areas."

The wheat then comes back to life in the spring.

This is the time of the year the crop develops its root system and moisture is essential for a good start of growth in the spring.

"Despite the ongoing long-term drought conditions in the region, there has been more moisture available this fall as opposed to last fall thus far," Mohler said.

A large part of the area due to be affected by the storm continued to experience extreme to exceptional long-term drought.

The zone from western Texas to southwestern Kansas is experiencing rainfall of 25 to 50 percent of normal since Nov. 1, 2010.

The same storm will bring snow to the ski resorts in the Southwest and may go on to bring substantial snow to part of the central Plains and Upper Midwest later this weekend.

Drenching rain will also reach into needy areas of eastern Texas and part of Louisiana later in the weekend into early next week. Another round of heavy rain during that same time in portions of the Tennessee and Oho valleys could trigger more flooding problems on streams and lesser rivers.

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