U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook, 1 November 2012 - 31 January 2013. Dry weather was predicted to continue through at least the end of January in the drought-stricken U.S. Plains. NOAA

By Sam Nelson, with additional reporting by Carey Gillam in Kansas City; Editing by Dale Hudson
18 January 2013

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Dry weather should continue through at least the end of January in the drought-stricken U.S. Plains and a blast of Arctic cold air in the Midwest early next week poses a threat to unprotected livestock and possibly some wheat, an agricultural meteorologist said on Friday.

"The hard red winter wheat belt in the Plains looks quiet, dry and cooler next week, but there shouldn't be a cold air threat in the Plains," said John Dee, meteorologist for Global Weather Monitoring.

Dee said temperatures would fall to zero (degrees Fahrenheit) or below early next week in the northern Midwest, roughly north of Interstate 80. Coldest readings will be in the northern states of North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, northern Iowa, Illinois, and Michigan.

"There's not a lot of snow cover so there is the potential for some damage. Zero readings could reach as far west as Nebraska," he said.

Commodity Weather Group (CWG) on Friday said most of the United States remained dry near the end of the week and showers next week would be limited to the eastern Midwest.

"Drought relief will be limited," said Joel Widenor, CWG meteorologist. […]

Officials in north-central Oklahoma declared a state of emergency due to record-low reservoir conditions. Public and private interests throughout the central United States hardest hit by drought were examining measures to try to cope with ongoing drought.

The government declared much of the central and southern U.S. Wheat Belt a natural disaster area on Wednesday last week due to persistent drought threatening the winter wheat harvest. [more]

No relief in sight for drought-stricken Plains

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