A cold pattern ahead...

Across the Corn Belt, snow is falling across northern areas. Meanwhile, scattered rain showers dot the eastern Corn Belt. Chilly weather prevails, except for lingering warmth in the Ohio Valley. 

On the Plains, late-season snow lingers in Montana and the Dakotas. Significant spring flooding is already underway in parts of the Dakotas, including the James and Big Sioux River basins. Meanwhile, extremely dry conditions persist across much of the central and southern Plains’ winter wheat belt.

In the South, warm, mostly dry weather is promoting fieldwork, winter grain development, and summer crop emergence. Planting is well underway in many areas; by March 20, for example, corn planting was 43% complete in Texas, 33% complete in Louisiana, and 20% complete in Georgia.

In the West, precipitation associated with an approaching storm is overspreading northern and central California. Cool, mostly dry weather prevails elsewhere in the West.

During the next 5 days, three more Pacific storms will barrel into the West Coast, producing as much as 4 to 8 inches of precipitation in northern and central California. Unsettled weather will also cover the remainder of the West, except for southern portions of Arizona and New Mexico.  Late in the week and during the weekend, a pair of storms may produce much-needed precipitation across the central and southern Plains.

Elsewhere, chilly weather across the majority of the U.S. will contrast with lingering warmth in the South.

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for colder-than-normal weather from the Plains to the East Coast, while near- to above-normal temperatures will prevail in the West. Meanwhile, drier-than-normal conditions from Arizona to Texas and from the upper Midwest into northern New England will contrast with above-normal precipitation in a broad area stretching from the Northwest into the Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic States.

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