Across the Corn Belt, rain associated with a storm system crossing the southern Plains is quickly overspreading the middle Mississippi and lower Missouri Valleys. Dry weather covers the remainder of the Midwest, except for some light snow in the upper Great Lakes region. Mild weather in the Ohio Valley contrasts with cool conditions in the upper Midwest.
On the Plains, weather and travel conditions are deteriorating early Wednesday across the Oklahoma panhandle and adjoining areas in Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, and Texas, due to windy weather, falling temperatures, and rain changing to snow. Farther north, snow remains on the ground from last weekend’s storm on the central High Plains, extending eastward across South Dakota and northern Nebraska. In part due to the recent boost in soil moisture, winter wheat condition in Kansas improved during the week ending March 14, from 27 to 22% very poor to poor.
In the South, locally severe thunderstorms are sweeping across areas west of the Mississippi Delta. In southern Texas, however, gusty winds, low humidity levels, and ample drought- and freeze-cured vegetation are resulting in an elevated wildfire threat. Elsewhere, warm, dry weather in Florida contrasts with cool, cloudy conditions from Georgia northward.
In the West, dry weather prevails between storms. One weather system has departed the central and southern Rockies, while a new storm is approaching the northern Pacific Coast. Despite recent precipitation, much of the nation’s southwestern quadrant remains in drought and faces poor spring runoff prospects, potentially leading to insufficient reservoir recharge and water-supply shortages.
The storm system crossing the southern Plains early Wednesday will race eastward, reaching the mid-Atlantic Coast on Friday. For the remainder of Wednesday, blizzard conditions will briefly engulf portions of the southern High Plains, while high winds will rake other areas across the southern half of the Plains. Farther east, storm-total rainfall could reach 1 to 2 inches or more from the southern Corn Belt to the middle Atlantic Coast, while locally severe thunderstorms will sweep across the South. The severe weather threat will end late Thursday, as the storm’s trailing cold front reaches the southern Atlantic Coast. Meanwhile, a new Pacific storm system will arrive in the Northwest, resulting in late-week rain and snow showers as far south as northern and central California and the Intermountain West.
Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for the likelihood of near- or below-normal temperatures from the Pacific Coast to the High Plains, while warmer-than-normal weather will prevail from the Mississippi Valley eastward. Meanwhile, below-normal precipitation along the East Coast and northwest of a line from southern California to western North Dakota should contrast with wetter-than-normal conditions from central and southern sections of the Rockies and Plains into the Mississippi Valley.