Cold weather lingers in the eastern Corn Belt

Across the Corn Belt, mild weather is overspreading western areas. Cold conditions linger, however, east of the Mississippi River, where snow depths associated with the recently ended, late-winter storm include 6 inches in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and 3 inches in Chicago, Illinois.

On the Plains, mild, breezy weather prevails, especially from Kansas northward. Thursday’s high temperatures will approach 70° as far north as southern South Dakota. The need for moisture is increasing for winter wheat, particularly across the southern Plains.

In the South, Freeze Warnings were in effect early Thursday in northern Georgia. In fact, cool, breezy conditions prevail throughout the Southeast. Farther west, light freezes were noted this morning as far south as central Louisiana and southern Mississippi, where winds have diminished.

In the West, a return to record-setting warmth in California accompanies dry weather. According to the California Department of Water Resources, the average water content of the high-elevation Sierra Nevadasnowpack stands at 8 inches, less than 30% of the mid-March normal.

Looking ahead, the coast-to-coast pattern of mostly dry weather will continue for several days. During the weekend, however, a storm will begin to take shape across the central and southeastern U.S. As a result, 5-day precipitation totals could reach 1 to 3 inches from eastern portions of Oklahoma and Texas to the southern Atlantic States. Depending upon the evolution of the storm, some wintry precipitation may occur early next week in the southern Mid-Atlantic region. Meanwhile, warm, dry weather will persist in California and the Great Basin—with warmth at times reaching as far east as the Plains.

The 6- to 10-day outlook for calls for near- to below normal temperatures across most of the U.S., while warmer-than-normal weather will be confined to Florida’s peninsula and the nation’s southwestern quadrant—an area stretching from California to the southern half of the High Plains. Meanwhile, near- to below-normal precipitation across the majority of the U.S. will contrast with wetter-than-normal conditions across Florida’s peninsula and the northern High Plains.

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