Cold blast ahead
We saw some sub-zero lows over the weekend in the Plains (Garden City got down to -5 on Saturday morning, while North Platte made -9 on Sunday morning), though most of the areas that had that cold had a couple inches of snow on the ground to provide some measure of protection for the winter wheat crop to that cold.
Temperatures in the Plains hard-red winter wheat belt will not be bad for this work-week (likely warm enough to melt away what snow cover there is for that area), with a shot of very cold air for late this week taking its track mainly through the central/eastern Midwest and then southeast into southeastern parts of the Nation. It is next week when the Plains will see its next big cold air threat, and that cold at this point looks very, very impressive. We will see that cold start to impact a lot of the western United States for late next weekend, and there will be additional re-enforcing shots of cold air for later next week and into the 11-15 day time frame.
Basically the period from about January 10 to January 20 is looking below normal for most of the Nation, but is going to be extremely cold for the Pacific Northwest, the Northern Rockies, the central/northern Plains, and the western Corn Belt with the period in question likely creating temperatures that will average 15 or more degrees below normal. That creates the obvious concern about more sub-zero cold for the Plains hard-red winter wheat belt.
The morning of January 12 might be the next time to expect more cold like that in that area, but likely there will be several more sub-zero mornings after that. It will be important that we put down some protective snow-cover prior to that cold, and right now I think that at least a little will indeed fall for late in the coming weekend and again for around January 12.
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