Wednesday's weather map
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Across the Corn Belt, a chilly rain is edging across southern Missouri and into the lower Ohio Valley. Meanwhile, the passage of a strong cold front is delivering snow, wind, and bitterly cold conditions across the far upper Midwest. Temperatures have plunged below 0° early Wednesday in the Red River Valley of the North, where a Blizzard Warning is in effect.

On the Plains, an Arctic cold front is punching southward across Montana and the Dakotas, accompanied by wind and snow. A Blizzard Warning is in effect early Wednesday in much of the eastern Dakotas. Meanwhile, rain is falling across the southern Plains, while wet snow is blanketing parts of southern and eastern Kansas.  

In the South, rivers continue to run high from the lower Mississippi Valley to the Atlantic coastal plain. Minor to moderate flooding is occurring at well over 100 Southern river gauges, with major flooding being reported in a few locations. Currently, another significant rain event is underway across interior sections of the South, maintaining the flood threat in a large area stretching from northeastern Texas to the northern Mississippi Delta and the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys.

In the West, developing warmth across northern and central California favors winter fieldwork. However, the water equivalency of the Sierra Nevada snowpack is less than 60% of the mid-February average. Elsewhere, some light snow is falling in the northern Rockies, while dry weather has returned across the southern Rockies in the wake of a departing snowstorm.

The latest round of Southern rainfall could lead to a worsening flood situation in some areas before dry weather returns late Thursday. Lowland flooding will linger after rain ends, as runoff drains from creeks and streams to larger rivers. In addition, another round of Southern rain during the weekend will maintain soggy field conditions. Meanwhile, showery weather will return across the northern half of the western U.S., starting on Thursday. Little or no precipitation will occur during the next 5 days, however, from central and southern California to the southern High Plains. Elsewhere, a sharp but short-lived blast of frigid air will engulf the northern Plains, Midwest, and Northeast, followed by a weekend warming trend. Snow will precede and accompany the surge of cold air, with accumulations expected from parts of the central Plains to northern New England.

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 across the eastern half of the U.S. Meanwhile, near- or above-normal precipitation across most of the country should contrast with drier-than-normal conditions across Florida’s peninsula, as well as much of California and the Great Basin.

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