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Snow ending drought

CHICAGO — Crop-friendly snowfall will be moving from the US Northern Plains into the central and eastern Midwest overnight today and tomorrow, leaving up to an additional six to eight inches of snow, an agricultural meteorologist said today.

“Most of it will come tomorrow and cover northern Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky eastward,” said Don Keeney, meteorologist for MDA EarthSat Weather.

The melting snow will add valuable moisture to dry corn and soybean areas ahead of spring planting, further shrinking the crop areas affected by last year’s drought, the worst in over a half century.

Warmer weather in the drought-stricken US plains hard red winter wheat region is melting the snow that accumulated during two blizzards in late February, Keeney said.

“That is putting a lot of welcome moisture into the ground,” he said.

Keeney said drier weather was expected for this week, then normal to above-normal precipitation was expected in the Plains States next week.

There was not threat of cold weather damage to either the soft red winter wheat crop growing in the US Midwest or the hard red winter wheat crop grown in the US Great Plains.

“I don’t see anything cold enough to cause any damage,” Keeney said.

Commodity Weather Group meteorologist Joel Widenor said light snow would spread from North Dakota into the Midwest early today and expand over the next two days, bringing three to eight inches or more of snow from North Dakota into the Ohio Valley.

“This will offer some relief for drought areas in Minnesota, North Dakota, eastern Iowa and a larger storm will bring 0.50 inch to 1.50 inches of rain across the Plains and into Iowa and Missouri next weekend,” Widenor said.

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