WORLD AGRICULTURAL WEATHER HIGHLIGHTS
February 8, 2002
UNITED STATES: Precipitation slackened across the Northwest during January, leaving the region's complete recovery from the drought of 2000-01 in doubt. Farther south, a late-January storm system delivered the month's only significant precipitation in much of the Four Corners region. The same storm crossed the central and southern Plains and parts of the Corn Belt on January 30-31, providing much-needed moisture for the Plains' wheat crop and recharging soil moisture in parts of the Midwest, but causing serious travel and electrical disruptions due to ice accumulations. The cold air that helped to fuel the late-month storm also left the northern High Plains' drought-stressed winter wheat crop exposed to temperatures as low as -20 degrees F. Cool air also spilled into California, bringing several minor to moderate freezes to the San Joaquin Valley's citrus areas in mid- to late January and necessitating some freeze-protection measures. Farther east, heavy rain from January 18-25 aided pastures and winter grains in the southern Atlantic region, but brought renewed lowland flooding to the Delta.
SOUTH AMERICA: Across southern Paraguay, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, and portions of northern Argentina, a late-December to late-January drought stressed summer crops. Late January and early February rainfall eased the drought and stabilized yield prospects. Good to excellent growing conditions elsewhere in Brazil offset the potential impact of the southern drought. In central Argentina, near- to above-normal January rainfall maintained adequate soil moisture for vegetative to reproductive summer crops. Slightly below-normal January temperatures eased crop water use across Argentina.
EUROPE: Unseasonably mild weather overspread the continent during January, providing favorable overwintering conditions for dormant and semi-dormant winter grains. The mild weather melted the protective snow cover over central and eastern Europe, however, leaving most major crop-producing areas snow free by early February. Near- to above-normal precipitation maintained moisture supplies in central Spain and from England eastward through Poland. Elsewhere, below- normal precipitation combined with the unseasonably mild weather to help increase evaporative losses.
FSU-WESTERN: In January, a warming trend followed a period of bitterly cold weather that persisted during the first 10 days of the month, improving overwintering conditions for winter grains. Unseasonably mild weather in early February melted most of the protective snow cover in the Baltics, Belarus, Ukraine, and southern Russia, leaving winter grains vulnerable to potential extreme cold.
NORTHWESTERN AFRICA: In January, rainfall was well below normal throughout Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. The lack of rainfall along with above-normal temperatures reduced sub-soil moisture for vegetative winter grains. Rainfall is needed to prevent declines in crop prospects.
MIDDLE EAST AND TURKEY: In Turkey, drier weather in January brought flood relief to the southwest. Elsewhere, rain and snow showers frequented the region's main winter wheat areas, although pockets of local dryness persisted in northwestern Iran. Snow cover offered some protection from bitter cold outbreaks in western Iran and Turkey's Anatolian Plateau.
SOUTH ASIA: During January, showers improved winter wheat and oilseed prospects across northern India. Unseasonably heavy rain in the east and south boosted irrigation reserves for winter grown rice.
EASTERN ASIA: During January, near- to above-normal precipitation fell across central and southern China, maintaining adequate moisture supplies for winter crops and sugarcane across the south. However, below-normal precipitation in the middle Yangtze Valley (southern Henan, Hubei, and Hunan) reduced moisture supplies. Much-above-normal temperatures during the first half of January caused winter wheat to lose some winter hardiness across the North China Plain. Cooler temperatures later in the month allowed the wheat to regain some winter hardiness.
SOUTHEAST ASIA: In January, consistent heavy rainfall eased long term dryness in Java, Indonesia, but also caused some flooding. Below-normal rainfall reduced moisture supplies for second-season crops in the Philippines and oil palm in peninsular Malaysia. Persistent light showers increased irrigation supplies in northern Vietnam, but below-normal temperatures slowed development of winter-spring rice.
AUSTRALIA: In early January, winter crop harvesting ended in Western Australia and the southeast after a period of unfavorable wetness. Warm, showery weather aided cotton and sorghum development in the east, although much of southern Queensland had become unfavorably dry by early February.
SOUTH AFRICA: Weather conditions remained mostly favorable for reproductive corn and other summer crops. Although northern and eastern sections of the corn belt have trended drier than normal, temperatures remained at generally favorable levels for pollination..