High-impact system slated for the Heartland
Across the Corn Belt, extremely cold conditions persist—especially across the northern half of the region. Friday morning’s temperatures dipped below 0°0 as far south as northern sections of Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. Readings below -20° were noted in the upper Great Lakes region.
On the Plains, bitterly cold conditions in Montana and the Dakotas contrast with warm, windy weather in Texas. Wheat and pasture conditions continue to deteriorate on the southern High Plains. Near the boundary between cold and warm air, some rain is falling in Oklahoma and southern Kansas. Farther north, snow is blanketing portions of Montana and Wyoming.
In the South, cool, mostly dry weather prevails, with freezes noted early Friday as far south as northern Florida.
In the West, the second of two storms is beginning to affect California. The heaviest precipitation is moving ashore in central and southern California, providing much-needed moisture for fields and orchards but causing local flash flooding—especially in areas that have recently experienced wildfires.
A storm centered over the eastern Pacific Ocean will drift eastward before crossing southern California on Saturday. After affecting the Southwest, the storm will emerge over the central and southern Plains on Sunday and move into the southern Mid-Atlantic region by Monday. From coast to coast, this will be a high-impact storm, with possible flash flooding (locally 3 to 6 inches of rain) today in southern California; heavy, late-week precipitation (1 to 3 inches) in the Southwest; widespread weekend snow from the central Plains into the northern Mid-Atlantic States; significant ice accumulations on March 2-3 from the Mid-South into the Mid-Atlantic region; and potentially strong thunderstorms on March 2-3 across the Deep South. Another surge of bitterly cold air will trail the storm into the Plains, Midwest, and Northeast. During the first half of next week, temperatures can be expected to fall to 0° or below as far south as the central Plains and the Ohio Valley.
Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for below-normal temperatures in most areas from the Plains to the East Coast, while warmer-than-normal weather will prevail in much of the West. Meanwhile, near- to below-normal precipitation across the majority of the U.S. will contrast with wetter-than-normal conditions in the Pacific Northwest and the lower Southeast.