Across the Corn Belt, dry, breezy conditions are spreading across the upper Midwest, where a significant snow cover exists. Meanwhile, central and eastern sections of Corn Belt are experiencing a mix of rain and wet snow, as well as muddy conditions due to thawing of previously frozen fields.
On the Plains, dry weather and seasonable temperatures prevail in the wake of a departing storm system. Approximately 12% of the nation’s winter wheat production area is experiencing drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, mainly across the southern half of the Plains.
In the South, rain showers are spreading across areas east of the Mississippi River. Cool, dry weather covers the western Gulf Coast region, but temperatures have rebounded to above-normal levels in the Southeast. Runoff from earlier downpours has pushed the Mississippi River at Natchez, Mississippi, to nearly 4½ feet above flood stage. However, the river in that location is still almost 5½ feet below the highest level observed last year: 9.91 feet above flood stage on March 12.
In the West, heavy precipitation has ended across the Pacific Northwest, but scattered rain and snow showers linger. Isolated showers extend as far south as northern California and as far east as the northern Rockies. Meanwhile, mild, dry weather prevails from central and southern California into the Southwest.
With cold air temporarily cut off from reaching the continental U.S., near- or above-normal temperatures can be expected during the next several days. The warmest weather, relative to normal, will be observed in the Great Lakes States. Mostly dry weather will accompany the mid-winter warmth in several regions, including the northern Plains and an area stretching from southern California to western Texas. In contrast, unsettled, showery weather will persist across the northern half of the western U.S. Farther east, a storm system will cross the Midwest before reaching New England on Sunday. A mix of rain and wintry precipitation will accompany the slow-moving storm. During the weekend and early next week, a few rain showers will affect the South, although most areas will receive less than an inch.
Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for warmer-than-normal weather nationwide, except for near-normal temperatures along and near the Gulf Coast. Meanwhile, wetter-than-normal conditions across most of the country should contrast with pockets of below-normal precipitation from California to Texas.