Across the Corn Belt, very cold conditions persist. Wednesday morning’s low temperatures plunged below 0°as far south as central Illinois. Meanwhile, light snow is overspreading the southwestern Corn Belt, including much of Missouri.
On the Plains, bitterly cold conditions across the northern half of the region are gradually easing, although numerous sub-zero temperatures were still noted Wednesday morning in Nebraska and the Dakotas. Meanwhile, livestock producers on the southern Plains are contending with a second major winter storm in less than a week, along with an ongoing cold wave. Regarding livestock in Texas, USDA/NASS reports that “supplemental feeding [has] increased…as producers [work] to keep livestock safe” and “supplemental feed and hay [are] in high demand.”
In the South, freeze-damage crop assessments continue in Deep South Texas, while a new winter storm batters the western and central Gulf Coast States and the lower Mississippi Valley with frigid, breezy conditions and snow, sleet, and freezing rain. In advance of the storm, parts of the interior Southeast—including the Tennessee Valley—are preparing for the latest round of wintry weather. Some winter wheat across the Deep South, including 18% of the statewide crop in Texas, was heading by mid-February and may have been damaged by the ongoing cold blast.
In the West, stormy weather is clearing out, although snow showers linger across the Rockies and environs. High-elevation snowpack has recently improved, particularly from the Pacific Northwest to the northern and central Rockies— but remains below average for this time of year from California into the Southwest. The average water equivalency of the Sierra Nevada snowpack stands at nearly 15 inches, just under 70% of the mid-February normal.
As the South is still trying to recover from the major winter storm of February 14-15 and the historic cold wave that followed, another significant weather system will deliver snow, sleet, and freezing rain from the southern Plains into the middle and lower Mississippi Valley. By Thursday, wintry precipitation will shift into the central and southern Appalachians and the mid-Atlantic. Meanwhile across the lower Southeast, the threat of severe thunderstorms, including isolated tornadoes, will return later Wednesday and continue through Thursday. By Friday, lingering storm impacts will be mostly confined to areas along the Atlantic Coast. Within a few days of the storm’s departure, bitterly cold weather will be replaced by milder conditions, starting in the nation’s mid-section. Elsewhere, occasional rain and snow showers will affect the Northwest, while mild, mostly dry weather will prevail in southern California and the Southwest.
Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for the likelihood of near- or above-normal temperatures nationwide, except for colder-than-normal conditions in the Northwest. Meanwhile, near- or below-normal precipitation in the southern two-thirds of the country should contrast with wetter-than-normal weather across the nation’s northern tier