Across the Corn Belt, lingering cool weather in the upper Great Lakes region contrasts with mild conditions across the remainder of the Midwest. Wednesday’s high temperatures could reach or exceed 65° in the lower Missouri Valley. Rivers continue to run high in parts of the Ohio Valley; in fact, the Ohio River at Ashland, Kentucky, has risen nearly 6 feet above flood stage to its highest level since March 1997.
On the Plains, warm weather is coaxing winter wheat out of dormancy in southern production areas. Wednesday’s high temperatures should exceed 70° in much of Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, drought currently covers nearly one-third (32%) of the U.S. winter wheat production area, including more than 90% of the wheat-growing region in Colorado, Nebraska, and South Dakota.
In the South, moderate to major flooding continues in parts of the Kentucky River basin, although water levels along most tributaries have crested and begun to recede. Mostly minor lowland flooding lingers across a much broader area, stretching from northeastern Texas to the central Appalachians. Early today, lingering rain is confined to the southern Atlantic region. Elsewhere, cool, dry weather prevails.
In the West, cloudiness is increasing across California. However, dry weather prevails throughout the western U.S. Gusty winds and low humidity levels have developed in parts of the Southwest, leading to an elevated wildfire threat.
As rain ends later Wednesday along the southern Atlantic Coast, the focus for active weather will turn to the Southwest. A storm system should cross southern California Wednesday night and the Southwest on Thursday. The system will traverse the central and southern Plains on Friday and Florida’s peninsula on Saturday. Despite having limited access to deep moisture for much of its life cycle, the storm should produce some snow in higher elevations of southern California and the Four Corners States. Storm-total rainfall could reach an inch or more in scattered locations from Kansas and Oklahoma to Florida. Meanwhile, little or no precipitation will fall during the next 5 days across the northern Plains and Midwest. Dry weather will also prevail across still-soggy sections of the interior Southeast. Elsewhere, late-week precipitation will push ashore in the Northwest, with significant totals limited to areas along and near the northern Pacific Coast.
Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for the likelihood of above-normal temperatures across the eastern one-half of the U.S., while cooler-than-normal conditions will prevail in the West. Meanwhile, near- or above-normal precipitation across most of the country, including the Plains, Midwest, and West, should contrast with drier-than-normal weather along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts.