Temps & weather vary widely across the Heartland; early spring-like in the Midwest

Across the Corn Belt, colder, breezy weather is overspreading the upper Midwest, accompanied by a few snow showers.  The remainder of the Corn Belt continues to experience unusual warmth, with Friday’s high temperatures expected to top 70°F as far north as the middle Mississippi Valley.  Some rural road conditions remain muddy, especially in areas affected by heavy precipitation in recent weeks, but overall conditions remain favorable for a variety of off-season farm activities.  

On the Plains, some degree of winter normalcy has arrived across Montana and North Dakota, following an accumulating snowfall and the return of near-normal temperatures.  Unusual warmth lingers, however, across the southeastern Plains, where Friday’s high temperatures should broadly exceed 70°F.  Despite the absence of sustained wintry conditions, wheat continues to mostly overwinter well.  In fact, only 14% of the U.S. winter wheat production area was experiencing drought on February 6, based on U.S. Drought Monitor-derived statistics, down from an autumn 2023 peak of 49%. 

In the South, mild weather prevails, despite widespread cloudiness.  A few showers have developed across the Tennessee Valley and environs, an area that has seen significant improvement in the drought situation in recent weeks.  As the Southern drought further eases, surface water supplies—including farm ponds—are generally improving.  

In the West, mostly dry weather has returned across California, where patchy frost was noted Friday morning as far south as the central coast.  Elsewhere in the West, scattered to widespread rain and snow showers accompany mostly below-normal temperatures.  According to the California Department of Water Resources, February storminess has added more than 5 inches of liquid equivalency to the Sierra Nevada snowpack, which has improved to 75% of average for the date.   

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