An active pattern returns to the Heartland

Across the Corn Belt, some light precipitation (rain and snow) is overspreading the upper Midwest. Elsewhere, warm weather across the southern Corn Belt contrasts with a lingering chill in the Great Lakes region. Current snow depths include 13 inches at Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, and Grand Rapids, Michigan.

On the Plains, warm, windy weather covers much of Texas, Oklahoma, and eastern Kansas. In addition, topsoil moisture is limited on the southern Plains—76% very short to short in Texas on March 9. As a result, there is an enhanced risk of wildfires today, especially in western sections of Texas and Oklahoma. Farther north, a mixture of rain and snow has developed across South Dakota.

In the South, rain is confined to a small area along the central Gulf Coast. Elsewhere, warm, dry weather favors an acceleration of spring fieldwork.

In the West, lingering rain and snow showers are confined to the northern Intermountain region. Meanwhile, unfavorably warm, dry weather covers California. According to the California Department of Water Resources, the water content of the high-elevation Sierra Nevada snowpack stands at 8 inches, just 30 percent of normal.

A developing storm centered over the central High Plains will move generally eastward, reaching the northern Mid-Atlantic States by late Wednesday and the New England coast on Thursday. Snow will fall north of the storm’s track, with significant accumulations expected from northern Illinois to Maine. Showers and thunderstorms will occur in the vicinity of the storm’s trailing cold front, mainly along the Gulf Coast and from the middle Mississippi Valley into the Mid-Atlantic region. Storm-total precipitation could reach 1 to 2 inches in the central Gulf Coast region and from the middle Mississippi Valley to New England. A sharp but short-lived cold snap will trail the storm across the Midwest and Northeast. Meanwhile, dry weather will prevail through week’s end in California, the Great Basin, and the southern High Plains.

Looking ahead, the6- to 10-day outlook calls for colder-than-normal conditions across the eastern half of the U.S., excluding southern Florida, while near- to above normal temperatures will prevail from the Pacific Coast to the High Plains. Meanwhile, near- to below-normal precipitation across most of the U.S. will contrast with wetter-than-normal weather along the Atlantic Seaboard.

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