Very cold weather dominates the Corn Belt
On the Plains, a little bit of light snow is expanding eastward from near the Montana-Wyoming border, but dry weather covers the remainder of the nation’s mid-section. Below-normal temperatures prevail throughout the region, but bitterly cold conditions—with sub-zero temperatures—are confined to the northern half of the Plains. In Texas, 47% of the winter wheat was rated very poor to poor on February 23.
Across the Corn Belt, snow showers are mostly confined to the middle Ohio Valley and areas downwind of the Great Lakes. Elsewhere, cold, dry weather prevails. Tuesday morning’s temperatures plunged below 0°—accompanied by gusty winds—from the Dakotas to Wisconsin, maintaining stress on livestock.
In the South, warmth lingers from southern Texas to the southern Atlantic region. Colder air is settling across the remainder of the South, accompanied by a few rain showers.
In the West, generally quiet weather prevails in advance of an approaching Pacific storm. Unusual warmth persists in California, the Great Basin, and the Southwest, but cool weather and a few showers dot the northern tier of the West. In Arizona, 60% of the rangeland and pastures were rated in very poor to poor condition on February 23, up from 24% at the beginning of the year.
During the next few days, the focus for heavy precipitation will shift into the West, with two storms expected to affect California. Five-day precipitation totals could reach 2 to 5 inches in the Sierra Nevada and 3 to 6 inches in California’s coastal ranges. Meanwhile, rain will fall along the Gulf Coast, primarily on February 25-26, with 1- to 2-inch totals likely. Farther north, periods of generally light snow will fall across parts of the Plains and Midwest, primarily toward week’s end. Temperatures will remain below normal east of the Rockies, except for some late-week warmth in the south-central U.S. Meanwhile, cooler air will overspread California and the Southwest.
Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for near- to below-normal temperatures and near- to above-normal precipitation across the majority of the U.S. Warmer-than-normal weather will be confined to southern Florida and from California to Arizona, while drier-than-normal conditions will be limited to the nation’s northern tier from Montana to New York.