Big changes in weather ahead

Big changes in weather ahead

Across the Corn Belt, mild, mostly dry weather prevails in advance of an approaching cold front. Patchy light rain is falling, however, in the eastern Corn Belt, where previously fallen snow continues to melt.

On the Plains, a significant winter storm is underway across Montana. The storm, accompanied by windy weather and a return to below-normal temperatures, is replenishing winter wheat’s protective snow cover across the northern High Plains, but creating stressful conditions for livestock. In contrast, warm, windy, dry weather is maintaining stress on winter wheat and resulting in an elevated risk of wildfires on the southern High Plains.

In the South, mild, dry weather has returned, except for a few showers in Florida. Producers in Florida and other Southern winter agricultural areas continue to monitor crops for any impacts from the recent cold spell.

In the West, dry weather has returned to southern California, following deadly mudslides and debris flows. Currently, rain and snow showers continue in the Rockies, Pacific Northwest, and several other areas. Any moisture is highly beneficial in the Southwest, where little or no precipitation has fallen in recent months.

A storm system emerging from the Rockies will remain the focus for significant weather during the next several days. For the remainder of Wednesday and Thursday, disruptive snow accumulations can be expected across parts of the northern and central Plains and upper Midwest. Windy weather and falling temperatures will follow the snow’s arrival, leading to travel disruptions and an increase in livestock stress. However, the snow will also provide winter wheat with protection from the return to cold weather. Meanwhile, the southern Plains will remain mostly dry, accompanied by windy weather and sharp temperature fluctuations. Dry weather will return across much of the West by week’s end, along with above-normal temperatures. Elsewhere, late-week precipitation may become heavy (locally 1 to 3 inches) from the Mississippi Delta and the Ohio Valley eastward, with significant snow possible in the Ohio Valley and the lower Great Lakes region.

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for the likelihood of above-normal temperatures from the Pacific Coast to the High Plains, while colder-than-normal conditions will prevail across the eastern half of the U.S. Meanwhile, below-normal precipitation across the southern High Plains and the Southwest, and east of a line from Louisiana to New York, should contrast with wetter-than-normal weather from the Pacific Coast to the northern Plains and upper Midwest.

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