Across the Corn Belt, snow showers are affecting the lower Great Lakes region. Across the remainder of the Midwest, colder air is arriving on gusty, northwesterly winds. Producers in the northwestern Corn Belt are monitoring the effects of Thursday’s high-wind event on corn and sunflowers that have not yet been harvested. Thursday’s peak gust of 53 mph in Fargo, North Dakota, tied for the second-highest gust in that location since November 1.
On the Plains, dry weather prevails. Record-setting warmth is imminent across the northern High Plains, where significantly above-normal temperatures and gusty, downslope winds have eliminated nearly all snow cover. In contrast, an extensive snow cover persists in the Red River Valley of the North. Farther south, recent rainfall sharpened the gradient between favorable topsoil moisture in central and northern Texas and worsening drought in southern Texas.
In the South, a few rain showers linger along the southern Atlantic Coast. Elsewhere, cool, blustery weather prevails. A broad, flat crest on the Mississippi River is in the vicinity of Natchez, Mississippi, where the river is more than 7.6 feet above flood stage. Last year’s highest crest in that location, in March 2019, was 9.9 feet above flood stage. Elsewhere, recovery efforts continue in central Tennessee and other areas affected by the recent spate of tornadoes.
In the West, showers are spreading inland across the Pacific Northwest, accompanied by cooler conditions. Elsewhere in the West, warm, dry weather favors early-spring fieldwork but is causing some premature melting of high-elevation snowpack. Much of California, nearly devoid of precipitation for more than 2 months, is facing topsoil moisture shortages, poor rangeland conditions, and unusually early irrigation demands.
An intensifying storm system east of the Carolinas will remain offshore during Friday but will contribute to rain and snow showers and gusty winds in the Northeast. In the storm’s wake, a brief period of cool, dry weather will affect the South, East, and lower Midwest. Meanwhile, record-setting warmth will expand across the West and reach the northern and central Plains and upper Midwest during the weekend. Subsequently, markedly cooler air will engulf the West, while warm weather will encompass the central and eastern U.S. During the next 5 days, most areas of the country will receive some precipitation, but amounts will be generally light. Higher totals (1 to 2 inches or more) may affect southern California and parts of the Southwest, as well as the middle Mississippi Valley. The bulk of the precipitation will fall early next week, when a fast-moving storm crosses the Midwest and a second storm arrives in the Southwest.
Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for the likelihood of near- or above-normal temperatures and precipitation across most of the country. Cooler- and drier-than-normal weather will be mostly confined to the Pacific Northwest, although dry conditions may also extend into parts of northern California.