Cold wave pattern to greet the new month of March

Cold wave pattern to greet the new month of March

Across the Corn Belt, below-normal temperatures persist. Dry weather covers most areas, although some light snow is falling in parts of the western Corn Belt. Most of the northern and western Corn Belt remains covered by snow; current depths include 18 inches in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, and 8 inches in Omaha, Nebraska.

On the Plains, cold, mostly dry weather prevails. Thursday morning’s temperatures fell below 10° as far south as northwestern Oklahoma. On the southern High Plains, where drought is developing in some areas, statewide topsoil moisture (on February 24) was rated 42% very short to short in Texas, along with 28% in Oklahoma.

In the South, warmth in the southern Atlantic States contrasts with chilly conditions in the mid-South and the western Gulf Coast region. Some wintry precipitation, including freezing drizzle, is falling early Thursday across the Ozark Plateau and environs, while rain showers are affecting portions of the Southeast.

In the West, mild, mostly dry weather has returned across Arizona and New Mexico. Most of the remainder of the region continues to experience below-normal temperatures and scattered rain and snow showers. Following earlier downpours, flooding persists in parts of northern California. The Russian River at Guerneville, California, crested 13.38 feet above flood stage late Wednesday—just 4.12 feet below the February 1986 record.

Looking ahead, during the weekend, a surge of cold air will replace lingering warmth across the Deep South. By Monday morning, sub-zero temperatures should occur as far south as northern sections of Kansas and Missouri. The following day, March 5, freezes could reach into winter agricultural areas of Deep South Texas. Much of the Southeast, excluding Florida’s peninsula, could experience freezes by the middle of next week. Meanwhile, an active weather pattern will continue in several areas. As a result, 5-day precipitation totals could reach 1 to 3 inches or more in the Southeast. Farther west, heavy precipitation will fall from California to the central Rockies. Snow will fall in several areas, but the most impressive winter precipitation event will stretch from California to Colorado during the weekend and stretch from the central and southern Plains to the Northeast late in the weekend and early next week.

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for the likelihood of colder-than-normal conditions nationwide, except for near-normal temperatures in southern Florida and above-normal temperatures in parts of the Southwest. Meanwhile, wetter-than-normal weather from California into the lower Missouri Valley should contrast with below-normal precipitation in the upper Great Lakes region and most areas east of the Mississippi River.

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