Cold, wind and snow are impacting livestock operations in the Midwest, the central and northern plains. Temperatures have been extremely low with high winds taking the wind chill well below zero. Add to that the deep snow pack that much of the upper Midwest has, and USDA meteorologist Mark Brusberg says you've got a situation that will stress livestock and producers.
"That's really going to cause problems with transportation, it's going to hamper feeding and cause livestock stress," Brusberg says. "If anything can stress livestock it's deep snow and sub-zero wind chills, so they are having real problems in the upper Midwest."
Also of concern is a huge storm expected to hit the west coast this weekend.
"We've got a big storm system making landfall along the northern Pacific coast of the U.S. and by the end of the week we are expecting some very heavy precipitation," Brusberg says. "In California, including the Sierras, we are looking at up to a foot of liquid equivalent. So we are looking at some very deep snow."
According to Brusberg, the bigger problem than the snow is very heavy rains over hilly areas hit by wildfires. Because they have lost a lot of vegetation, Brusberg says heavy rains have the potential to cause mud slides. Although it may cause problems, in the long-term heavy rains may recharge the water supply in the drought stricken west."