Unseasonable warmth rapidly depleted much of the region’s snow cover and reduced winter crop cold hardiness.
Temperatures for the week averaged 5 to 11°C above normal, causing snow to rapidly melt from southern and eastern Ukraine into Russia’s North Caucasus District.
Though winter wheat was now exposed to potential incursions of bitter cold, nighttime low temperatures (-5 to -1°C) were well above the threshold for freeze damage.
While wheat remained dormant in most growing areas, daytime highs approaching 20°C in southern-most portions of Russia reduced crop cold hardiness and may have encouraged early greening.
Despite the widespread warmth, winter grains were still covered by a moderate to deep snowpack (10-25cm) from central Ukraine into Russia’s Volga District.
In addition, light to moderate rain and late-week wet snow (5-30 mm, liquid equivalent) maintained abundant soil moisture reserves for spring growth.