Cold pattern to persist, snow ahead

Cold pattern to persist, snow ahead

Across the Corn Belt, frigid weather is returning to the upper Midwest, where Thursday morning’s temperatures plunged below 0°—accompanied by gusty winds. Meanwhile, a few rain/snow showers are developing across the Ohio Valley, in advance of a strong cold front.

On the Plains, colder weather prevails in the wake of a cold front’s passage. Sub-zero temperatures were reported early Thursday in large parts of the Dakotas and eastern Montana. Across the northern Plains, winter wheat’s protective snow became patchy during the recent warm spell. Farther south, a punishing winter dry spell persists. Thursday marks the 111th consecutive day without measurable precipitation in Amarillo, Texas.

In the South, mild, dry weather favors farm activities, including off-season maintenance. Rain is still needed in several areas, including parts of the mid-South and lower Southeast, to boost soil moisture and ease the effects of a dry winter.

In the West, the latest round of precipitation is spreading inland along the northern Pacific Coast. Mild, dry weather covers the remainder of the region, except for some snow in the central Rockies.

A pair of fast-moving cold fronts will bring a return of very cold weather to the northern Plains, Midwest, and Northeast. However, the cold outbreaks will not be quite as harsh as those observed in early January, as sub-zero temperatures should be mostly confined to the northern Plains and upper Midwest. Precipitation (rain and snow) will precede and accompany the cold fronts, primarily across the South, East, and lower Midwest, with 5- day totals topping an inch in some locations. In contrast, dry weather will persist into next week from California to the southern Plains. Farther north, however, periods of rain or snow will continue from the Pacific Northwest to the northern High Plains. Despite the Northwestern precipitation, above-normal temperatures will continue to limit snow accumulations.

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for the likelihood of below-normal temperatures in the Midwest and environs, while warmer-than-normal weather will prevail in the West and the lower Southeast. Meanwhile, below-normal precipitation across the central and southern Plains and the West should contrast with wetter-than-normal weather along and northeast of a line from Montana to Georgia.

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