Updated USDA soybean rust forecast from Feb. 13, 2006:

In the wake of the blizzard that hit New York and southern New England, cold air settled into the southeastern states Monday morning. Temperatures were near freezing, 33F, in Leesburg, Fla., while Ocala, Fla., had temperatures in the mid 20s.

Monday night and Tuesday morning will once again experience low temperatures near freezing in the Leesburg, Ocala and Dayton Beach areas of Florida. Staring on Tuesday, milder air is predicted through the weekend, with low temperatures well above freezing.

Soybean-rust scouts will be checking on kudzu survival after the cold snap.

The freeze line, marking locations that have experienced minimum temperatures equal to or lower than 32 F during the late fall and winter seasons. The areas are a few miles inland along the Texas gulf coast to near New Orleans. Temperatures have fallen to below freezing to the Mississippi and Alabama Gulf coasts. It also includes the entire Florida panhandle. In Florida, the freeze line extends from Yankeetown to near Ocala then to Daytona Beach.

Kudzu dieback tracks the southward defoliation of host vegetation for soybean rust development. Kudzu dieback is presented as a percentage of defoliation with 0 percent representing no dieback and 100 percent full dieback. There is currently nearly 100 percent dieback for Texas, except for the coastal areas; all but the coastal areas of Louisiana; most of Alabama; most of Georgia, the Florida panhandle and north from Yankeetown to Ocala and northeastward to Jacksonville. The 5-percent dieback extends across southern Florida from Cape Coral to Fort Lucie, Fla.

Visitors to www.sbrusa.net are encouraged to check the Observation and State Update screens on the Web site to follow the progress of sentinel plots and scouting in their local areas. Visitors are also encouraged to frequently consult the Forecast Outlook and Disease Management commentaries supplied there by state soybean specialists.

SOURCE: www.sbrusa.net.