Farmers in Nebraska, South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota are bracing for yet another monster storm. This time, meteorologists expect up to 4 inches of moisture in various forms to pummel already saturated fields, many of which are in flooded regions.
“I have some customers out in South Dakota who are reporting almost a foot of snow already,” Ed Vallee of Empire Weather told AgriTalk host Chip Flory. “They’re asking when is this thing going to wind down? Unfortunately, this thing is just developing down on the plains of Colorado, and it's going to be moving eastward and ramping up.”
According to Vallee, this first band of storms currently moving into Northeastern Iowa has produced more precipitation than meteorologists expected.
“It's one of those situations where as it starts developing, we do our best to kind of tweak and make the forecast as good as it can be, but I think later tonight and especially late tonight and into Thursday morning we're going to be dealing with some pretty heavy snowfall in the same areas that got hit with the [last round of flooding].”
The storm won’t only produce snow, Vallee said it’s a dynamic storm and depending on location will likely produce different precipitation types ranging from wet snow, to dry snow and even rain. Severe weather is also a possibility.
“Anytime you get a storm this time of the year, you're going to be dealing with a lot of different temperature variations over short distances. That's kind of what fuels the storms to strengthen and ultimately provide a lot of threatening hazards,” he said. “I think as we continue to move on here the snow was very wet, dense especially during the day. But as we get into the nighttime hours, we're going to feed in a little bit more cold air coming in from the north and that may actually allow the snow to dry out a little bit across South Dakota and portions of western Nebraska.”
This storm is likely to cause additional flooding.
“I think the moisture in this storm is really the takeaway,” he said. “We're going to be dealing with two to four inches of liquid with this storm on top of the flooding we've seen over the last few weeks, so this is not a good situation for a lot of places.”
Vallee expects the storm to stick around through the end of the week and said it will likely peak first thing on Thursday. With the moisture comes a significant wind threat.
“It's going to be a wide-reaching wind threat. Obviously where there's snow falling, that's the biggest concern because you toss wind and snow together that's a power outage pretty quickly,” he said. “But even if you're not seeing snow or even any precipitation here, we're going to be dealing with these winds out of the South in those locations pretty much right through tonight and that's going to be in that 40 to 60 mile an hour range. Which, even if you're not getting two feet of snow, that's obviously not welcome.”
When the storm pushes out of the Western Corn Belt on Thursday night and into the Ohio Valley, severe weather will be the biggest threat, according to Vallee.
“As we get into Friday, this should taper to only a few snow showers and then our focus is going to turn to clean up and then the blowing snow threat, especially across the areas that get hardest hit overnight today,” he said.