Across the Corn Belt, the first major cold wave of the winter of 2012-13 continues. Thursday morning’s temperatures fell below -10° in the far upper Midwest, including much of Minnesota, the eastern Dakotas, and northern Wisconsin. Cold weather is maintaining stress on livestock, although Midwestern snow depths are mostly shallow. Locally heavy snow has accumulated, however, downwind of the Great Lakes; in Michigan, for example, current depths include 9 inches in Muskegon and 7 inches in Traverse City.
On the Plains, an extremely sharp temperature gradient exists. Thursday morning’s temperatures fell below -10° in parts of the eastern Dakotas, while mild, breezy conditions prevail on the High Plains. Persistently dry weather remains a concern with respect to the poorly established hard red winter wheat crop.
In the South, light snow is ending across the southern Mid-Atlantic region. Elsewhere, dry weather favors offseason fieldwork. However, Florida remains unfavorably dry, with heavy irrigation demands persisting.
In the West, highly beneficial precipitation is overspreading the Great Basin, Intermountain West, and Southwest. In advance of a developing storm system, mild, dry weather covers the Rockies.
Cold weather will persist through week’s end across the Midwest and Northeast, followed by a rapid warming trend.
By early next week, a new surge of cold air will arrive across the northern Plains and the West.
The eastern one-third of the U.S. will experience some late-week precipitation, with rain expected in the Southeast and mostly snow in the Northeast. Meanwhile in the West, widespread rain and snow showers will precede and accompany the transition to colder weather. During the weekend, some light but much-needed precipitation will develop across the central and southern Plains before moving into the Midwest.
Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for near- to below-normal temperatures nationwide, except for warmer-than-normal weather across the Deep South from the western Gulf Coast region to the southern Atlantic States. Meanwhile, near- to above-normal precipitation from the Plains to the East Coast will contrast with drier-than-normal conditions in the Rio Grande Valley and the West.