A quieter, milder pattern ahead next week

A quieter, milder pattern ahead next week

Across the Corn Belt, a few snow showers linger downwind of the lower Great Lakes. Cold, dry, breezy weather covers the remainder of the Midwest. Flooding generally continues to subside, except along some larger rivers. For example, lowland flooding persists along the Wabash and Illinois Rivers, and in the lower Ohio Valley.

On the Plains, largely dry weather prevails. Warmth is returning to the drought-stricken southern half of the High Plains, where a locally elevated wildfire threat exists. With the issuance of the latest U.S. Drought Monitor, dated March 6, exceptional drought (D4) has made its first appearance in Oklahoma since May 5, 2015, and in Kansas since June 3, 2014.

In the South, Freeze Warnings were in effect early Friday as far south as parts of Alabama, Mississippi and the Florida panhandle. For the second year in a row, record-setting February warmth has left some Southeastern fruits and early-planted crops especially vulnerable to spring freezes. A late-February USDA/NASS report from Georgia indicated that “fruit trees [had begun] blooming early.”

In the West, warmth has returned to most areas, following several weeks of cool weather. However, showers are returning to the northern tier of the region, from the Pacific Northwest to the northern Rockies. Farther south, 5% of Arizona’s intended cotton acreage had been planted by March 4.

In the wake of a departing Northeastern storm—the region’s second major snow and wind event in a week—recovery efforts will resume during Friday. Meanwhile, the Southeast will experience brief weekend warmth, followed early next week by another blast of unusually cold air. Also during the weekend, a storm system crossing the Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic States could produce 1 to 2 inches of rain in those regions, as well as possible heavy snow in the central Appalachians. Elsewhere, dry conditions will persist across the central and southern High Plains, but locally heavy precipitation will return to California during weekend and early next week.

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for the likelihood of above-normal temperatures across much of the nation’s mid-section, while colder-than-normal conditions can be expected in the East and Far West, as well as parts of the northern Plains. Meanwhile, below-normal precipitation across the southern Plains, lower Southeast, and Atlantic Seaboard should contrast with wetter-than-normal weather in much of the northern and western U.S.

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