An active Winter weather pattern this weekend

An active Winter weather pattern this weekend

Across the Corn Belt, the latest in a series of winter storms is producing a band of snow from Nebraska into the lower Great Lakes region. At daybreak Friday, snow depths have increased to 11 inches in Rockford, Illinois, and 10 inches in Muskegon, Michigan. The snow is causing widespread travel disruptions.

On the Plains, frigid, sub-zero temperatures cover Montana and the Dakotas. Combined with recently fallen snow and lingering flurries, the bitter cold is increasing livestock stress. Farther south, light snow is falling in Nebraska and environs, but extremely dry conditions continue to adversely affected rangeland, pastures, and winter wheat on the southern Plains, where an elevated risk of wildfires exists.

In the South, a few showers are developing across the lower Southeast. The rain is part of a pattern of wetter weather that has developed across the South in recent weeks, significantly easing cool-season precipitation deficits and aiding pastures, cover crops, and winter grains.

In the West, a few snow showers continue to skirt the northern Rockies. Meanwhile, dry weather accompanies record-setting high temperatures across California, the Great Basin, and the Southwest. Some mountain ranges, including the Sierra Nevada, have begun to lose high-elevation snowpack in recent days.

The West’s spell of record-setting warmth will temporarily end during the weekend, followed by a return to above-normal temperatures next week. Meanwhile, periods of snow will linger across the lower Midwest during the next several days, accompanied by rain, freezing rain and sleet. Heavier precipitation (rain) will fall in the Southeast, where 5-day totals could reach 2 to 5 inches or more. In stark contrast, dry weather will persist through the middle of next week across the southern High Plains. However, some light rain may arrive early next week in southern California and parts of the Southwest. Elsewhere, bitterly cold conditions across the northern Plains and upper Midwest will ease significantly early next week.

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for the likelihood of below-normal temperatures across the northern Plains and upper Midwest, while warmer-than-normal weather will cover much of the remainder of the U.S. Meanwhile, near- to above-normal precipitation across large sections of the country should contrast with drier-than-normal in several areas, including the central Plains, upper Midwest, lower Southeast, and much of the Far West.

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