Record-setting Heat for the Southern Plains

March 20, 2017 08:28 AM

USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility says on the Plains, record-setting warmth prevails across the southern half of the region, maintaining stress on drought-affected rangeland, pastures and winter wheat and further reducing soil moisture. Today’s high temperatures should range from 90° to 100°F across a broad area of the southern Plains. Meanwhile, isolated rain showers accompany near-normal temperatures across the northern Plains.

In the West, USDA reports scattered showers are overspreading northern California and the Northwest, accompanied by cooler conditions. Warm, dry weather persists across the remainder of the region, including the Southwest.

In the Corn Belt, USDA says a cluster of showers and thunderstorms is producing locally heavy rain from Illinois into Ohio. Meanwhile, warm air is spreading across the western half of the Corn Belt, with today’s high temperatures expected to top 80°F as far north as the lower Missouri Valley.

In the South, cool conditions linger in the Atlantic Coast States, where frost and freeze warnings are in effect early today in parts of the Carolinas. In addition, Southeastern producers continue to monitor the impact of the significant March 15-17 freezes on a variety of crops, including fruits and winter wheat. Warm air is overspreading the remainder of the region, especially the mid-South, USDA notes.

In its outlook through March 23, USDA says unsettled weather can be expected across the U.S., with five-day precipitation totals forecast to range from 2 to 8 inches in northern and central California; 2 to 4 inches in the Pacific Northwest; and 1 to 2 inches in a broad area stretching from the northern Rockies and Intermountain West to the central Plains, mid-South and Midwest. In fact, mostly dry weather will be limited to portions of the Deep South and the Atlantic Coast States. Meanwhile, a mid-week cold snap will bring another round of below-normal temperatures to the Midwest and East. Although the Southeast should escape additional sub-freezing temperatures, widespread readings below 20°F should occur from the Great Lakes region into the Northeast. Toward week’s end, however, warm weather should return to many parts of the country.