Across the Corn Belt, snow is falling early Wednesday from the middle Mississippi Valley into Michigan. Cold, breezy conditions trail the storm system, with Wednesday morning’s low temperatures falling to near 0° in parts of the upper Midwest. According to USDA/NASS, the corn harvest is 61% complete in North Dakota, as the end of February approaches.
On the Plains, cold weather prevails. Early Wednesday, temperatures have fallen to sub-zero levels across parts of the northern Plains, stretching as far south as western Nebraska. A patchy, mostly shallow snow cover exists on the northern and central High Plains, while deep snow is limited to the eastern Dakotas.
In the South, two bands of rain—one from the Tennessee Valley to the central Gulf Coast and the other along the southern Atlantic Coast—are maintaining soggy field conditions in many areas. Based on available reports from USDA/NASS, late-February topsoil moisture was rated 74% surplus in Tennessee and 62% surplus in North Carolina.
In the West, warm, dry weather covers California and the Great Basin. Late-February topsoil moisture was reported to be 70% very short to short in Nevada, along with 65% in California. In addition, no meaningful precipitation has fallen in California’s key watershed areas in more than a month. Dry weather currently prevails across the remainder of the West, aside from isolated showers across the northern tier of the region.
A rapidly intensifying storm system will generate as much as 1 to 2 inches of precipitation in the Northeast by late Thursday. Wind-driven snow will end later Wednesday in the Midwest but later shift into interior sections of the Northeast. Meanwhile, locally heavy showers will linger through Wednesday across the southern Atlantic region. In the storm’s wake, mostly dry weather and below-normal temperatures will prevail in the central and eastern U.S. During the weekend, however, temperatures will rebound to above-normal levels across the Plains and Mississippi Valley. In the West, markedly cooler weather will arrive during the weekend, accompanied by an increase in shower activity. Although some light precipitation should develop during the weekend in California, more significant amounts may be limited to the Pacific Northwest and the Intermountain West.
Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for the likelihood of near- or below-normal temperatures in the West, while warmer-than-normal weather will prevail from the Plains to the East Coast. Meanwhile, below-normal precipitation in southern Texas, peninsular Florida, and northern and central California should contrast with wetter-than-normal conditions across the remainder of the country.