According to USDA meteorologist Brad Rippey, the groundhog was right and winter is not over, despite near 100 degree temperatures in parts of the country this week. A major winter storm is moving through with snow in the central plains to the Northeast, flooding rains in the Ohio Valley and severe weather across the Deep South. A cold wave will follow the storm, which Rippey says will cause some major agricultural problems.
"Livestock stress; you've got this wind-driven snow and freezing rain across the central plains and the Midwest and on into the Northeast," Rippey says. "Some of the big livestock areas of the plains and parts of the Midwest are obviously going to encounter some difficult conditions from this system."
Flooding is also an issue for concern as well as wet fields and feedlots in the Central and Eastern Corn Belt. And following the storm will be a short-lived but very intense surge of Arctic air.
"What we're going to see is something similar to what we saw back in January for the Midwest where we have flooding ongoing from the heavy rain that falls this week followed by a quick freeze up," Rippey says. "We saw a big flood event in January in parts of Illinois, Indiana and southern Michigan, so those areas are at the greatest risk for additional flooding. We've got some real muddy conditions as we head toward spring."