Across the Corn Belt, very cold weather lingers, but the entire Midwestern winter wheat crop has a protective snow cover. Widespread sub-zero temperatures were noted Friday morning as far south as northern Missouri and central Illinois. Elsewhere, a few snow showers are occurring downwind of the Great Lakes.
On the Plains, mild air is replacing previously frigid conditions across western and central Montana, accompanied by some light snow. Cold conditions linger across the remainder of the nation’s mid-section, where Friday morning’s low temperatures fell below 10° as far south as central and western Texas. Winter wheat continues to lack a protective snow cover in much of northeastern Montana and parts of the Dakotas. In addition, snow cover is shallow and patchy in some areas across the central Plains, including parts of Kansas.
In the South, cold weather lingers in the wake of a departing storm, although Deep South Texas escaped another freeze. Friday morning’s low temperatures dipped below 10° on the Ozark Plateau and fell below freezing in all areas from eastern Texas to the Tennessee Valley. Early Friday, rain lingers in the southern Atlantic States, with some freezing rain falling in Virginia and portions of neighboring states. Heavy rain has triggered some flooding in the eastern Carolinas.
In the West, scattered rain and snow showers are primarily affecting the northern half of the region. Meanwhile, dry weather accompanies a Southwestern warming trend. According to the latest (February 16) U.S. Drought Monitor, drought covers 79.3% of the 11-state Western region and is most severe and deeply entrenched across the Southwest.
During the next few days, weather conditions will continue to improve across most cold- and storm-battered sections of the Plains, South, and Midwest. However, a storm system currently crossing the Northwest will push eastward, delivering some early-weekend snow across the central Plains before reaching the Midwest and Northeast late in the weekend and early next week. However, snow associated with that system will be generally light. The storm will also produce some light rain across the South. Many other areas of the country, including southern California and the Southwest, will experience dry, tranquil weather into next week. In addition, temperatures will rebound to near- or above-normal levels in many areas of the country by early next week, with highs briefly reaching 50° or greater as far north as Montana and the Dakotas.
Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for the likelihood of near- or below-normal temperatures from the Pacific Coast to the Plains, while warmer-than-normal weather will prevail from the Mississippi Valley eastward. Meanwhile, near- or above-normal precipitation across most of the country should contrast with drier-than-normal conditions across the lower Southeast, parts of the Dakotas, and from California to western Texas.