Drought still a concern on the Plains
Across the Corn Belt, lingering cold is mostly limited to the Great Lakes region, where an extensive snow cover persists. Generally dry weather accompanies the milder conditions.
On the Plains, cold weather is limited to parts of North Dakota. Elsewhere, mild, mostly dry weather prevails. Moisture demands for rangeland, pastures, and winter grains are increasing across the central and southern Plains due to dry soils and recent warmth.
In the South, Freeze Warnings were in effect early Friday morning in the Atlantic Coast States as far south as Georgia and north-central Florida. West of the Appalachians, cool conditions are easing in advance of a storm system.
In the West, record-setting warmth is gradually expanding farther inland, causing some premature melting of low-elevation snowpack. Precipitation is confined to the Pacific Northwest, except for isolated showers in Arizona and New Mexico.
A period of relatively tranquil weather will end during the weekend with the development of a late-winter storm over the nation’s mid-section. Early next week, the storm will affect the nation’s southeastern quadrant. Frozen precipitation (snow, sleet, and freezing rain) can be expected along the northern fringe of the precipitation shield, with significant snowfall accumulations possible on March 16-17 in the northern Mid-Atlantic States. Meanwhile, storm-total rainfall could reach 1 to 2 inches from the Mid-South into the Southeast, with some 2- to 4- inch totals possible in the southern Atlantic region. Another surge of very cold air will trail the storm into the Midwest and Northeast, while a period of record-setting warmth in the West will end early next week. Elsewhere, dry conditions will persist into next week across California, the Great Basin, and the Desert Southwest.
Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for near- to above-normal temperatures across much of the southern half of the U.S., while colder-than-normal conditions will cover the northern half of the U.S. Meanwhile, below-normal precipitation across the nation’s southern tier will contrast with wetter-than-normal weather from the northern Plains into the Midwest.