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Weather starter: Frigid week ahead

02/03/2014 @ 7:51am

In line with the trend this winter, we are off to another cold start this morning across the western three-fourths of the nation. Across the Midwest, temperatures range from the teens and 20s across a good portion of the Ohio Valley, dropping sharply to as low as -18 degrees F. across interior northern Illinois with mainly -5 degrees F. to +5 degrees F. readings across Iowa. Currently, a large upper-level trough is swinging into the southwestern U.S..

This trough will lift ENE through the day, acting as a catalyst to a developing area of snow tonight across the Southern Plains. This area of snowfall will lift east and expand in coverage through tomorrow, but not before dropping a few to locally several inches of snowfall across much of Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska, helping to insulate the majority of the HRW wheat production regions.

This area of snowfall will spread into the Midwest during the day Tuesday, falling as steady snow across Missouri, Iowa, and Illinois. Northern/central Indiana and Ohio will also see steady, accumulating snowfall develop Tuesday afternoon and evening. Across central and southern portions of the Ohio Valley, a wintry mix will transition to rain the closer one comes to the Ohio River, where 1 to 2 inches of rainfall is possible.

From Missouri eastward into the northern Ohio Valley, many areas will see 3 or more inches of snowfall with 4 to 6-plus falling across southern Iowa, central Illinois, and northern Indiana and Ohio. As the storm departs, a quick 1 to 2 inches of snow is possible across the southern and central Ohio Valley in addition to the rainfall Tuesday night.

Wednesday, another Arctic airmass will spill in behind the departing low, reaching western portions of the Midwest with high temperatures in the single numbers and teens. Thursday the heart of the cold will spread across the central and eastern Midwest, with a sustained below-/well-below-normal pattern to last throughout the weekend from eastern portions of the Dakotas south and east to the eastern periphery of the Midwest. During the latter half of this week, several mornings will dip near to below zero. However, enough snowcover should be in place to insulate the majority of the HRW and SRW wheat regions. This should reduce the winterkill threat.

This morning, wheat prices have seen some support from bitterly cold weather slowing transportation across the Black Sea Region. However, a warmer pattern will evolve across the Black Sea Region a few days from now, which should favor more bearish market trends. NatGas this morning has dropped to 4.85 from its high a few days ago of 5.40. Cold weather will favor above-normal heating demand the next several days, although indications are for a warmer pattern to evolve for much of the country by the 11th of the month. Just how warm we get is too uncertain to speculate at this time. Along with this warmer pattern will come a much wetter patter for the western U.S., with central/northern California likely to receive much needed rain/mountain snow. Over the next 10 days, 3+ feet of snow is likely to fall across the Sierra Nevada which will be very important for boosting springtime water supplies.

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