Milder days ahead as stormy pattern resumes

Milder days ahead as stormy pattern resumes

Across the Corn Belt, very cold, breezy conditions persist. Wednesday morning’s low temperatures fell below 10°, except in the Ohio Valley. Water levels remain very high in the lower Ohio Valley; in fact, the Ohio River at Cairo, Illinois, crested late last week more than 16½ feet above flood stage—the highest level in that location since May 2011.

On the Plains, significantly below-normal temperatures prevail. However, bitterly cold conditions are slowly easing, with today’s sub-zero temperatures mostly confined to Montana and the Dakotas. Breezy conditions have begun to develop on the southern High Plains, where precipitation is needed to stabilize the condition of rangeland, pastures, and winter grains.

In the South, a Freeze Warning was in effect early Wednesday, except across Florida’s peninsula and Deep South Texas. Some Southeastern fruit crops, including peaches and blueberries, experienced accelerated development during a February warm spell, and could be vulnerable to freeze injury.

In the West, cool, stormy weather stretches from the Pacific Coast to the northern and central Rockies. Flooding remains a threat in several valley locations, especially across northern California.

Warmth in the Southwest will quickly spread eastward across the remainder of the Deep South. During the weekend, above-normal temperatures will briefly surge northward across the eastern U.S. in advance of an approaching storm system. That storm, which will intensify while traversing the nation’s mid-section, will result in a variety of weather hazards. For example, wind-driven snow should occur from the northern Plains into New England; strong to locally severe thunderstorms may sweep across the South; and heavy rain (1 to 3 inches or more) could aggravate lowland flooding and soggy field conditions in the mid-South. Prior to the weekend system, an earlier storm will produce lingering precipitation across the West into Thursday, followed by some light, late-week precipitation (rain and snow) in the central and eastern U.S.

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for the likelihood of below-normal temperatures across the western and central U.S., while warmer-than-normal weather will prevail along and east of a line from eastern Texas to Michigan. Meanwhile, above-normal precipitation across most of the country should contrast with drier-than-normal conditions in southern Florida and from Oregon and northern California to Montana.

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