Spells of wet weather, but drier days ahead

Spells of wet weather, but drier days ahead

Across the Corn Belt, rain showers are developing from Illinois eastward, maintaining extremely wet conditions and aggravating lowland flooding. In contrast, the upper Midwest remains covered by snow; Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, has a current snow depth of 7 inches.

On the Plains, rain showers stretch across portions of Oklahoma and Texas. However, rain remains largely southeast of the drought-stricken southern High Plains’ winter wheat production areas. Farther north, cold conditions persist across the snow-covered northern High Plains. Winter wheat is believed to be doing well beneath the snow, with 54% of Montana’s crop rated in good to excellent condition on February 25.

In the South, locally heavy showers stretch from the Ozark Plateau to the southern Appalachians. Flood Warnings are broadly in effect across the mid-South and interior Southeast, where locations such as Louisville, Kentucky; Jackson, Tennessee; and Tupelo, Mississippi, have set February precipitation records.

In the West, precipitation is confined to parts of Arizona and the Pacific Northwest. Despite the recent turn toward cooler, slightly wetter weather, one-half of California’s rangeland and pastures were rated in very poor to poor condition on February 25, according to USDA.

For the remainder of Wednesday and Thursday, another significant precipitation event will perpetuate flooding across the mid-South and lower Midwest. The heaviest rain, locally 2 to 4 inches, will fall from northeastern Texas into the Tennessee Valley, while totals could reach 0.5 to 1.5 inches in the central and eastern Corn Belt. From the Great Lakes region into the Northeast, accumulating snow can be expected, with precipitation (and gusty winds) lingering through Friday in parts of the latter region. Meanwhile, a significant, late-winter storm will move ashore in the West, producing high-elevation snow as far south as the Sierra Nevada. By early next week, the Western storm will drift eastward, resulting in snow across portions of the north-central U.S.

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for the likelihood of near- to below-normal temperatures nationwide, except for warmer-than-normal weather from the Great Lakes region into New England. Meanwhile, near- to above-normal precipitation across the Pacific Coast States and the eastern half of the nation should contrast with drier-than-normal conditions from the Intermountain West to the High Plains.


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