Still cool across the Midwest...

Still cool across the Midwest...

Across the Corn Belt, cold, mostly dry weather prevails, except for a few snow showers in the Ohio and middle Missouri Valleys. In the upper Midwest, cold weather has reduced runoff into swollen creeks and river.

On the Plains, spotty, light precipitation accompanies cool weather. More appreciable rain is needed on the central and southern Plains, where the portion of the winter wheat crop rated in very poor to poor condition (on March 27) includes 62% in Texas, 55% in Colorado, 46% in Oklahoma, and 35% in Kansas.

In the South, beneficial rain is falling, primarily east of the Mississippi River. Rain is especially beneficial for Southeastern pastures, winter grains, and emerging summer crops. By March 27, corn had begun to emerge in several states, including Mississippi (3%) and Arkansas (2%).

In the West, unsettled conditions from the Pacific Northwest to the northern Rockies contrast with dry, warmer weather from California into the Southwest. Fieldwork is accelerating in California, following the recent spate of wet weather.

Warm weather in the West will spread into the south-central U.S. by week's end, with record-setting highs possible in the central and southern High Plains during the weekend. During the next 5 days, chilly conditions will linger, however, from the northern Plains into the Northeast.

Meanwhile, an active storm track will prevail from the Pacific Northwest into the East. Five-day precipitation totals could reach 6 inches in the northern Cascades, while 1 to 3 inches of rain will provide some drought relief in the southern Atlantic States. In contrast, dry weather will stretch from southern California to the southern Plains.

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for near- to below-normal temperatures nationwide, except for warmer-than-normal weather in the Gulf Coast region. Meanwhile, near- to above-normal precipitation across the majority of the U.S. will contrast with drier-than-normal conditions across the central and southern Plains and the Southwest. 

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