An hyper-active day of the weather; a blizzard north to severe weather across the Midwest

Across the Corn Belt, a major, late-season winter storm is producing snow and freezing rain across the far upper Midwest, leading to blizzard conditions in much of South Dakota and environs.  A sharp temperature gradient exists across the Midwest as the storm system crosses the western Corn Belt.  For example, Friday’s high temperatures will remain near or below 32°F in the Dakotas—but will reach 70°F or higher as far north as the middle Mississippi Valley.

On the Plains, wintry precipitation—freezing rain and snow—accompanied by winds as high as 35 to 55 mph, are resulting in blizzard conditions in much of central and eastern South Dakota and leading to major travel disruptions and significant livestock stress.  A broader area of the northern Plains is dealing with cold, breezy weather and periods of freezing rain or snow.  Meanwhile, high winds are also raking portions of the southern Plains, where dry conditions and low humidity levels are maintaining an elevated wildfire threat, as well as stress on rangeland, pastures, and winter grains.

In the South, warm, breezy weather prevails in advance of an approaching cold front.  Pre-frontal showers are occurring in several areas, mainly across the Tennessee Valley.  Friday’s high temperatures should reach 80°F or higher along and near the Gulf Coast, with readings topping 90°F in much of southern Texas.  Spring planting continues, especially in drier areas of the Deep South and the southern Atlantic States.

In the West, cool but tranquil weather prevails.  Lingering precipitation is mostly confined to the northern Rockies and northern Intermountain West.  The Sierra Nevada has reached its traditional peak snowpack date with an average snow water equivalency greater than 60 inches, roughly 235% of average, portending copious spring and summer runoff.

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