Late-season cold to expand across the Heartland

Late-season cold to expand across the Heartland

Across the Corn Belt, cold weather prevails, although winds have diminished. Light snow is falling across portions of the northern Corn Belt, where an extensive and deep snow cover is in place. The current snow depth in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, stands at 16 inches.

On the Plains, snow covers roughly the northwestern half of the region, helping to insulate winter wheat from sub-zero temperatures. Meanwhile, drought continues to develop across the southern High Plains. On February 24, more than one-fifth (21%) of the winter wheat in Texas was rated in very poor to poor condition.

In the South, scattered rain showers are developing in the Gulf Coast region. Mild, dry weather covers the remainder of the region, although moderate to major flooding persists in portions of the Tombigbee, Tennessee, and lower Mississippi Valleys.

In the West, heavy precipitation is falling from northern California to portions of the northern Rockies. Flooding remains a concern in northern California, especially on recently burned slopes. Prior to this storm’s arrival, the average water content of the Sierra Nevada snowpack was 33 inches, approximately 120% of the normal seasonal peak.

During the next few days, disorganized, generally light precipitation will affect portions of the southern and eastern U.S. Local rainfall totals could reach 1 to 2 inches in the Southeast. Meanwhile, a storm system currently affecting the West will move eastward, reaching the nation’s mid-section late in the week. Snow should fall across portions of the Plains and Midwest on March 1-2, while locally heavy showers could affect the Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic States during the weekend. Another potential high-wind event, as well as a southward surge of cold air, will trail the storm.

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for the likelihood of colder-than-normal conditions nationwide, except for near- or above-normal temperatures across Florida’s peninsula and the Desert Southwest. Meanwhile, wetter-than-normal across the Deep South and from California to the central Plains should contrast with below-normal precipitation in most other areas, including much of the Midwest and southernmost sections of the Rockies and High Plains.

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