USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility says on the Plains, a weekend cold outbreak resulted in low temperatures ranging from 5 to 20°F in western Oklahoma and parts of neighboring states, possibly causing freeze injury to winter wheat that had begun to joint. "Currently, much warmer air is arriving; today’ s high temperatures will exceed 80°F in the same region," USDA explains. Due to warm, dry, breezy conditions, wildfire ign ition is a significant risk in many areas of the Plains, USDA details.
In the West, USDA says rain and high-elevation snow showers stretch from northern California and the Pacific Northwest to the northern Rockies. "Warm, dry weather covers the remainder of the West," USDA adds. Northern California’s drought situation continues to improve, while southern California remains unfavorably dry, according to USDA.
In the Corn Belt, USDA reports dry weather prevails. "However, cool, breezy conditions in the eastern Corn Belt contrast with the arrival of milder weather west of the Mississippi River," USDA explains. Nevertheless, patches of snow remain on the ground in the upper Midwest, USDA adds.
In the South, USDA says freeze warnings are in effect early today for a broad area stretching from northeastern Texas to the western Carolinas. "Producers are monitoring the cold weather for possible impacts on a variety of crops, including winter wheat and blooming fruits," according to USDA.
In its outlook, USDA says snow along the northern Atlantic Coast will end later today. "Meanwhile, the cold weather that has been affecting the central and eastern U.S. will continue to be replaced by much warmer conditions," USDA continues. By mid-week, however, another surge of below-normal temperatures will reach the nation’s mid-section before expanding eastward, USDA continues. "On the central High Plains, however, temperatures are not expected to be as low as those observed last weekend," USDA elaborates. Meanwhile, storminess will shift from the Northwest into the Midwest, with significant snow initially expected in the northern and central Rockies and on March 23-24 from the central High Plains into Lower Michigan, USDA reports. "Farther south, severe thunderstorms will be a concern," it continues.