The Last Days of 2016
Arctic air descended into much of the northern, central and eastern areas of the nation over the past week. Not only has the cold arrived but some good rains were reported in California and heavy snow was reported in the Sierras and across most of the Central Rockies.
Snow pack conditions which were far below normal in many areas of the west a few weeks ago have improved dramatically with the recent change in the jet stream pattern across the northern hemisphere.
The chart below shows snowpack conditions as a percentage of normal as of Sunday, Dec. 18. The green and blue squares represent areas of 90% or above in regards to snow pack levels while yellow, orange and red highlight below normal conditions. The best snow pack conditions are in Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Oregon and southern Idaho. At the moment, very poor conditions are found with the snow pack across portions of Arizona and New Mexico.
While the bitter cold temperatures across the country will ease some this week, another cold of very cold air is likely to invade the western and central areas of the nation during Christmas weekend with the cold shifting eastward into the Corn Belt and Great Lakes between Christmas weekend and New Year’s Day.
Beef producers should continue to expect harsh winter weather conditions at times over the next couple of weeks and into the New Year, especially in the Northern Plains, Rockies and the Pacific Northwest and east into the Great Lakes.