A wide-range of weather issues on the Plains

Across the Corn Belt, snow lingers across parts of Minnesota and northern Wisconsin, while a few rain showers are crossing Michigan and Ohio. Midwestern winter wheat appears to be emerging from dormancy in reasonably good shape, with nearly half (47%) of the Illinois crop rated in good to excellent condition on March 30.

On the Plains, snow has ended across the Dakotas but unusually cold conditions persist. In contrast, dry, warm, windy conditions are maintaining stress on the southern High Plains’ rangeland, pastures, and winter grains. On March 30, well over half (59%) of the winter wheat was rated in very poor to poor condition in Texas, along with 44% in Oklahoma and 25% in Kansas.

In the South, scattered showers are maintaining adequate to locally surplus soil moisture reserves. Planting delays are occurring across the South for a variety of crops. In Texas, for example, planting by March 30 had reached 28% of the intended corn acreage, 21% for sorghum, 10% for rice, and 6% for cotton. Respective 5-year planting averages by March 30 for those four crops in Texas are 48, 38, 34, and 7%.

In the West, widely scattered rain and snow showers are providing very limited drought relief in California and the Great Basin. Despite recent precipitation, the average water content of the high-elevation Sierra Nevada snowpack stands at 8 inches, less than 30% of average for the date.

Morning Low Temperature Plot

Weather Alerts

Forecast High Temperatures (National)

National Snow Cover Map

 

An active, moisture-laden part ahead for the Midwest

An active weather pattern across the central and eastern U.S. will lead to 5-day precipitation totals of 1 to 4 inches in the states bordering the Mississippi River, as well as the Ohio Valley. Locally severe thunderstorms will accompany the rain across portions of the Plains, Midwest, and South. Meanwhile, mostly dry, windy weather will continue to plague the southern High Plains, leading to an elevated risk of wildfires and the possibility of blowing dust. Elsewhere, unsettled, showery weather will linger across the West, although precipitation amounts will not be particularly heavy.

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for below-normal temperatures in the western Gulf Coast region and from the Mississippi Valley to the East Coast, while warmer-than-normal weather will prevail from the Pacific Coast to the High Plains. Meanwhile, near- to below-normal precipitation across the majority of the U.S. will contrast with wetter-than-normal conditions in New England and the lower Southeast.

5-Day Precipitation Totals

NOAA’s 6- to 10- Day Outlook

NOAA’s 8- to 14- Day Outlook

An active pattern ahead over the next 5- to 10-days.

Wet weather will linger across the South and East into the weekend, where additional rainfall could reach 1 to 3 inches in the Southeast and 2 to 4 inches in the northern Atlantic States. Locally severe thunderstorms will accompany the showers across the South on Friday and Saturday. Farther west, warm, windy weather will develop during the weekend across the south-central U.S., resulting in an enhanced risk of wildfires and the possibility of additional blowing dust. Elsewhere, an active weather pattern will continue into early April in California and the Northwest. Five-day precipitation totals could reach 1 to 3 inches in the northern Rockies, 2 to 4 inches in the Pacific Northwest, and 4 to 8 inches in northern California. By early next week, wind-driven snow can be expected across portions of the northern Plains and upper Midwest.

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for near- to below-normal temperatures across the majority of the U.S., while warmer-than-normal weather will be confined to the Pacific Coast States and the southern Atlantic region. Meanwhile, below-normal precipitation in southern California and the Southwest will contrast with wetter-than-normal conditions in the Northwest and across the eastern half of the U.S.

5-Day Precipitation Totals

NOAA’s 6- to 10- Day Outlook

NOAA’s 8- to 14- Day Outlook

Colder weather settles into the Heartland

On the Plains, cold weather prevails, except for some lingering warmth in Texas. Patches of light snow are affecting the northern and central Plains, while a few rain showers are developing in central Texas.

In the Corn Belt, cold weather prevails in the wake of Thursday’s widespread precipitation. Thursday’s severe weather reports—large hail and a few tornadoes—were mostly concentrated in Missouri. Currently, rain lingers in parts of the Great Lakes region, mainly in Michigan.

In the South, showers and locally severe thunderstorms are sweeping across areas east of the Mississippi River. Most fieldwork activities remain behind schedule in much of the South due to cool, wet soils.

In the West, unsettled, showery weather continues in the Pacific Northwest. In western Washington, month-to-date precipitation has totaled 8 to 12 inches or more (200 to 250 percent of normal) at locations such as Seattle and Hoquiam. Farther south, light precipitation in northern California is aiding rain-fed crops and temporarily easing irrigation demands, but having little effect on bleak water-supply outlooks.

Morning Low Temperature Plot

Weather Alerts

Forecast High Temperatures (National)

National Snow Cover Map

Drought improvement forecast for parts of the Plains, Corn Belt

Long-term drought is predicted to continue across California, interior Oregon, the Great Basin, the Desert Southwest, the southern Rockies, and the southern High Plains, as the traditional winter wet season draws to a close in the next few weeks. Mountain snow packs are running well below-average across much of this region. The Pacific Northwest still has a while yet before entering their climatological dry season, so there are opportunities for drought improvement and removal there.

Across the central portion of the contiguous United States, drought improvement and/or removal is anticipated over the lower central and southern Great Plains and Upper and Middle Mississippi Valley.

However, farther west across the High Plains, the odds for improvement or removal are not as good, prompting persistence of drought conditions.

Seasonal Drought Outlook through June, 2014

NOAA: moderate flood potential in Midwest, elevated risk of ice jams

According to NOAA’s Spring Outlook recently, rivers in half of the continental United States are at minor or moderate risk of exceeding flood levels this spring with the highest threat in the southern Great Lakes region due to above-average snowpack and a deep layer of frozen ground.

Additionally, drought is expected to continue in California and the Southwest. 

NOAA’s Spring Outlook

Still winter-like across much of the Heartland

Across the Corn Belt, snow remains on the ground in many areas from Minnesota to Michigan. In Michigan, Lansing has had at least an inch of snow on the ground for 106 consecutive days, breaking a record set in 1962-63. Cold weather prevails throughout the Midwest, even in areas with no remaining snow cover. Some patches of light snow are overspreading the western Corn Belt.

On the Plains, a few snow flurries are confined to the northern half of the region. However, cold weather covers all of the nation’s mid-section. Monday morning’s temperatures fell to near 10° across portions of the northern Plains.

In the South, Freeze Warnings were in effect early Monday in parts of the southern Appalachians. Cool, dry weather covers the remainder of the South, except for some rain showers along the Gulf Coast. Cool, wet soils continue to limit spring fieldwork in many areas.

In the West, unusually warm weather continues to prematurely melt mountain snow. The average water content of the Sierra Nevada snowpack stands at 7 inches, less than 25% of the late-March normal.

Morning Low Temperature Plot

Weather Alerts

Forecast High Temperatures (National)

National Snow Cover Map

An active pattern across the northern-half of the nation

For the remainder of Monday, a developing storm will produce light snow in parts of the Midwest. Meanwhile, rain will become heavier along the Gulf Coast. Over Tuesday and Wednesday, the storm system will intensify over the western Atlantic Ocean, grazing the northern Atlantic Coast with high winds and heavy snow. Inland sections of the Northeast should escape with generally light snowfall. Meanwhile, stormy weather will begin to overspread the western U.S. Five-day precipitation totals could reach 3 to 6 inches in the Pacific Northwest, with 1 to 3 inches possible in northern California. Parts of the Rockies and Intermountain West can expect as much as 1 to 2 inches. Toward week’s end, snow will develop across portions of the northern and central Plains and spread into the Great Lakes region.

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for near- to below-normal temperatures across most of the eastern half of U.S., while warmer-than-normal weather will prevail from the Pacific Coast to the central and southern Plains. Meanwhile, near- to below-normal precipitation across the southern U.S. will contrast with wetter-than-normal conditions across the northern half of the U.S., including parts of California.

5-Day Precipitation Totals

NOAA’s 6- to 10- Day Outlook

NOAA’s 8- to 14- Day Outlook

 

A wide-range of weather across the Heartland

Across the Corn Belt, snow is returning to parts of Minnesota and eastern North Dakota. A little bit of snow is also falling in Ohio. Most of the remainder of the Midwest is getting a taste of spring, with temperatures expected to reach 70° later Friday in the middle Mississippi Valley.

On the Plains, cold, windy weather is returning to Montana and the Dakotas, accompanied by some light snow. Farther south, unfavorably dry conditions persist on the southern High Plains, despite an increase in cloudiness. In addition, warmth lingers for a final day from Texas to eastern Kansas.

In the South, warm, dry weather favors some spring fieldwork, at least where soils are warm and dry enough. Soil temperatures are high enough to support corn development only across the Deep South, where Georgia’s crop was 9% planted by March 16.

In the West, dry weather prevails. However, cool conditions in the Northwest contrast with warm weather from California to the southern Rockies. The Sierra Nevada snowpack, which currently contains just 7 inches of water (25% of the late-March normal), has begun to melt.

Morning Low Temperature Plot

Weather Alerts

Forecast High Temperatures (National)

National Snow Cover Map

 

More winter-like weather ahead

A rather tranquil weather pattern will become more active during the weekend, with rain developing across the South and cold weather returning to nearly all areas east of the Rockies. Early next week, much uncertainty remains regarding the development of an East Coast storm. Regardless of its coastal evolution, the nascent storm will produce some snow early next week from the northern Plains into the Midwest. Beyond that, a significant snow storm remains a possibility on March 25-26 in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern States, particularly along the Atlantic Seaboard. Farther west, dry weather will persist at least into the middle of next week from southern California to the southern High Plains. In addition, California will experience unusually warm weather.

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for below-normal temperatures across the eastern half of the U.S., while warmer-than-normal weather will prevail from California to the central and southern High Plains. Meanwhile, near- to above-normal precipitation across most of the country will contrast with drier-than-normal conditions from the central and southern Plains into the Southwest.

5-Day Precipitation Totals

NOAA’s 6- to 10- Day Outlook

NOAA’s 8- to 14- Day Outlook