Sharply colder air to spread southeastward

Sharply colder air to spread southeastward

Across the Corn Belt, the leading edge of an Arctic air mass is blasting across the upper Midwest, increasing livestock stress. In the Great Lakes region, snow accompanies the cold front. Meanwhile, a rain and snow mix is spreading across the middle Mississippi and lower Ohio Valleys.

On the Plains, frigid air is settling across the Dakotas and northeastern Montana, where Friday morning’s lows plunged below 0°. Little or no snow cover exists on the northern Plains, although bitter cold has stayed east of Montana’s wheat belt. Meanwhile on the central Plains, some snow remains on the ground following last week’s storm, with a 7-inch depth reported in Denver, Colorado, and a 3-inch depth in Omaha, Nebraska.

In the South, scattered showers stretch from the western Gulf Coast region into the lower Mississippi Valley. A few showers are also developing in the Southeast, but mostly dry conditions persist in the drought-affected southern Atlantic region.

In the West, mild weather prevails, except for below-normal temperatures in the central and southern Rockies. Precipitation is mostly confined to the northern Rockies and the Pacific Northwest.

During the next several days, a pair of storms will provide the West with widespread but generally light precipitation. Five-day totals may exceed an inch in the Pacific Northwest and the Four Corners region.

By early next week, 1- to 2-inch rainfall totals can be expected from the western Gulf Coast region into the lower Mississippi Valley.

Farther north, some of the coldest air of the season will invade the Plains, Midwest, and Northeast. On Saturday morning, sub-zero readings will occur as far south as the central Plains, with temperatures below -10° in parts of Nebraska. Widespread sub-zero readings will also occur during the weekend across the upper Midwest.

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for a return to near- to above-normal temperatures nationwide, except for colder-than-normal conditions in the Southwest. Meanwhile, near- to above-normal precipitation across the majority of the U.S. will contrast with drier-than-normal weather in California, western Texas, the northern Plains, and the upper Midwest.

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