Warmer for now, big changes ahead this weekend

Warmer for now, big changes ahead this weekend

Across the Corn Belt, cold conditions linger across the upper Midwest. A chilly rain, mixed with snow, is falling early Thursday in portions of the Great Lakes region. Farther south, however, the remainder of the Corn Belt is experiencing a brief surge of warmth.

On the Plains, cold weather covers Montana and the Dakotas in advance of an approaching storm system. In stark contrast, very warm, windy weather is contributing to an extreme risk of explosive wildfires on the central and southern Plains. Thursday’s temperatures could approach 100° on the parched southern High Plains.

In the South, warm weather is replacing previously cool conditions, favoring an acceleration of planting activities and other spring fieldwork. However, pockets of wetness continue to limit fieldwork in some areas, particularly from the Mississippi Delta into the Tennessee and Ohio Valleys.

In the West, a developing storm system is crossing the Rockies. Rain and high-elevation snow showers stretch from the Pacific Northwest to the northern Rockies, while windy weather prevails in much of the Southwest. Sharply cooler air is overspreading California and the Great Basin.

A powerful, spring storm will emerge from the West over the remainder of Thursday and cross the central Plains on Friday. The slow-moving system will reach the Northeast early next week, preceded by warm weather and trailed by below-normal temperatures. Impacts from the storm will include significant livestock stress and travel disruptions from the northern Plains into the Great Lakes region, mainly due to wind-driven snow and possible blizzard conditions. On the southern Plains, windy, dry weather will contribute to an extreme wildfire threat that could linger into next week, despite falling temperatures in the storm’s wake. In fact, weekend freezes can be expected as far south as the southern Plains. Finally, the storm will produce heavy showers and locally severe thunderstorms from the east-central and southeastern Plains into the Southeast, mainly from Friday through Sunday.

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook for calls for the likelihood of below-normal temperatures across most of the country, while warmer-than-normal weather will be limited to southern sections of the Rockies and High Plains. Meanwhile, below-normal precipitation in the Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic States, as well as portions of the southern Rockies and southern Plains, should contrast with wetter-than-normal conditions from the Pacific Coast to the Midwest and mid-South.

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