Rocky Roads: Second Blizzard Hits the Midwest

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Will Winter Storm Rocky’s moisture bring hope for better spring crops? Photo: Krappweis / CC by 2.0

Winter Snowfall Could Help Drought-Stricken Midwest

In the summer and fall of 2012, images of the Midwest were very different than the ones that now sweep across the screens. Parched corn crops, dying trees, and desperate farmers were a more common scene than drifts of snow. While drought and winter may not seem to go together, the Midwest has been very dry into the late fall and early winter.

Could these blizzards actually be a good thing? This week’s and last week’s snowfalls are bringing much-needed moisture to the region, although it’s not quite as much moisture as it appears to be. A foot of snow becomes about an inch of water, so the two feet of snow that many areas have received in the last week works out to two inches of rainwater, which isn’t really that much when three to nine inches of rainfall is required to end the drought in the Midwest. It’s not much, but some moisture is still better than none.

The snow isn’t necessarily good news for all farmers, though. While the precipitation may be good for spring crops and drought-stricken reservoirs, snowfall can be a challenge for cattle farmers. Grazing cattle and new calves can be at risk in the cold and drifting snow from the storm.

Winter Storm Rocky: Blizzard Conditions

Overall, with blizzard-like conditions piling up snow by the sides of the roads, it’s a day to stay warm indoors, pile up the quilts, and enjoy a hot drink or two. By late Tuesday, much of the storm will have passed. Even though the shoveling will continue, hopefully residents can shovel in good spirits, thinking of the much-needed moisture that these storms bring.

Resources

Canadian Underwriter. Snow in Midwest US to help, but not end long-running drought. (2013). Accessed February 25, 2013.

KMOV St Louis. 2nd Blizzard in less than week slams Midwest. (2013). Accessed February 25, 2013.

KSM. Blizzard Conditions Increasing Across Parts of Kansas. (2013). Accessed February 25, 2013.

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