Unsettled, unseasonably warm weather prevailed over the region, accelerating southern wheat development and keeping most crop areas uncharacteristically devoid of snow cover.
Precipitation for the week totaled 10 to 30 mm from Belarus and northern Ukraine into central Russia, boosting moisture reserves for dormant winter crops.
Precipitation was lighter in southern portions of Ukraine and Russia, where 2 to 13 mm was reported; however, soil moisture supplies remained abundant for winter wheat following a wet winter.
Temperatures averaged up to 10°C above normal, with daytime highs above freezing (3-8°C) in the north and the lower 20s along the Black Sea Coast.
Consequently, snow was confined to the Volga and northern Central Districts in Russia, in sharp contrast to the end-of February climatology of a region-wide snowpack.
Furthermore, winter crops in Krasnodar Krai (located in southern-most portions of the Southern District) continued to develop well ahead of normal.
While the recent spring like warmth has not been detrimental to winter wheat, the early development and lack of protective snow cover have left crops more vulnerable than usual to potential incursions of late-winter or early-spring bitter cold.