Cold wave weather dominates the Heartland...
On the Plains, mild weather is returning to the northern tier of the region, but bitterly cold conditions persist elsewhere. Thursday morning’s minimum temperatures dipped as low as -20 degrees on the central High Plains. Readings below -10 degrees were noted as far south as the northwestern corner of Texas. On the High Plains, a patchy, shallow snow cover is providing wheat with only limited protection from the extreme cold.
Across the Corn Belt, frigid weather prevails and rural travel remains difficult in the wake of the recent blizzard. Readings below -10 degrees were common Thursday morning in the central and western Corn Belt.
In the South, some light precipitation is breaking out in conjunction with a developing winter storm. Precipitation is occurring in the form of freezing rain, sleet, or snow primarily north and west of a line from southeastern Louisiana into central Georgia. Most of Deep South Texas escaped without a hard freeze—temperatures fell to near 30 degrees—although windy conditions complicated freeze-protection efforts.
In the West, very cold weather in the Southwest contrasts with mild conditions in the Pacific Northwest. Freeze warnings were in effect Thursday morning across southern Arizona and southeastern California, where protective measures were needed for some winter vegetables and other temperature-sensitive crops.
For the remainder of Thursday, a rare Deep South winter storm will produce freezing rain, sleet, and snow in the western and central Gulf Coast regions. Winter Storm Warnings are in effect from Deep South Texas to central and southern Mississippi. Additional freezes (lows of 25 to 30 degrees) can be expected in Deep South Texas on February 4—during the winter storm—and on February 5, when skies will clear and winds will diminish.
During the weekend, precipitation will spread into the East, while another winter storm—trailed by more Arctic air—will begin to take shape over the nation’s mid-section.
Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for below-normal temperatures nationwide, except for warmer-than-normal weather in California. Meanwhile, near- to above-normal precipitation across the majority of the U.S. will contrast with drier-than-normal conditions from California, eastward into the lower half of the Mississippi Valley.