Milder, wetter days ahead

Milder, wetter days ahead

Across the Corn Belt, cold, dry weather prevails. Most of the region remains firmly in the grip of winter, with all but the southern Corn Belt under a thick blanket of snow. Sub-zero temperatures were noted early Monday throughout the upper Midwest, while current snow depths include 13 inches in Rockford, Illinois; 10 inches in Grand Rapids, Michigan; and 7 inches in Des Moines, Iowa.

On the Plains, a strong high-pressure system is centered over the Red River (of the North) Valley. Monday morning’s low temperatures generally ranged from -10 to -30° in North Dakota, as well as northern and eastern Montana. A substantial snow cover is helping to insulate winter wheat across the northern Plains, but worsening drought continues to grip the southern Plains’ winter wheat production areas.

In the South, rain showers linger, mainly in the Atlantic Coast States. Recent, widespread rains have slowed off-season farm activities but have significantly reduced cool-season precipitation deficits.

In the West, snow showers dot the Great Basin and the Intermountain region, accompanied by colder weather. Near- to below-normal temperatures also cover the remainder of the West, following the recent, record-setting warm spell.

A series of fast-moving disturbances will produce generally light precipitation in a wide variety of regions. For example, early- to mid-week precipitation in the West will result in local totals in excess of an inch. Some of the most beneficial showers will occur in drought-affected areas of the Southwest. Late in the week, however, warm, dry weather will return across the West. Meanwhile, markedly warmer weather will arrive by midweek across the nation’s mid-section, including the Plains and Midwest. Subsequently, a strong cold front will sweep into the central U.S. Late-week rainfall in advance of the front could become heavy in the Ohio Valley and environs.

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for the likelihood of below-normal temperatures across much of the western and central U.S., while warmer-than-normal weather will be limited to southern California and areas along and east of a line from the eastern Texas to Lake Huron. Meanwhile, near- to above-normal precipitation across much of the country should contrast with drier-than-normal conditions in a few areas, including the lower Southeast, parts of the western Corn Belt, and the Far West.

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