The 6-10 day temperature outlook
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Across the Corn Belt, temperatures have rebounded to near- or above-normal levels. In fact, Tuesday’s high temperatures could reach 65° or higher in parts of the middle Mississippi Valley and should approach 40° in the northern Corn Belt. Midwestern snow has begun to melt amid the mild conditions, though some areas retain a significant snow depth.

On the Plains, windy weather lingers across Montana and the Dakotas, accompanied by snow showers. Farther south, mild weather has replaced the 2-week blast of Arctic air. Later Tuesday, high temperatures should range from 60 to 80° across the southern half of the Plains. Across the southern Plains, rangeland and pastures conditions sharply declined during the February cold wave. On February 21, nearly two-thirds (66%) of the rangeland and pastures in Texas were rated very poor to poor, up from 50% last month. Oklahoma’s very poor to poor rating increased from 24 to 59%.

In the South, tranquil weather continues to promote storm- and freeze-recovery efforts, including infrastructural repairs such as broken water pipes. Tuesday’s high temperatures will range from 65 to 80° throughout the region. Initial reporting for Texas from USDA/NASS indicates “fruit and vegetables in the Lower [Rio Grande] Valley were damaged… Early fruit trees froze in [south-central] Texas.”

In the West, patchy rain and snow showers are confined to the Pacific Northwest and the northern Rockies. Meanwhile, warm, dry weather stretches from California into the Southwest. Tuesday’s high temperatures will exceed 80° in parts of the Southwest, where warmth could lead to premature melting of high-elevation snowpack.

A disturbance crossing the nation’s northern tier will generate some light snow through mid-week. Subsequently, a disorganized Southern storm system will produce generally light rain, starting on Thursday. Five-day rainfall totals could reach 1 to 2 inches from northeastern Texas to the southern Appalachians. Elsewhere, showery weather will linger from the Pacific Northwest to the northern Rockies, but mostly dry weather will prevail during the next 5 days in California, the Great Basin, and the Southwest, as well as the central Plains and lower Southeast. Bitterly cold air, which has retreated, will remain north of the U.S.-Canadian border during the remainder of the week.

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for the likelihood of colder-than-normal conditions from the Pacific Coast to the High Plains, while near- or above-normal temperatures will prevail across the eastern half of the U.S. Meanwhile, wetter-than-normal weather from the central and southern Plains into the mid-South, Midwest, and Northeast should contrast with below-normal precipitation in Florida and from the Great Basin to the northern Plains.

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Greg Soulje, a professional meteorologist since 1985, offers national agricultural weather forecasts via "This Week in Agribusiness."

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