The National Weather Service’s (NWS) outlook for March gives high odds for below-normal temperatures across the Midwest and the bulk of the Plains, but the one-month outlook provides little direction in terms of what’s ahead for precipitation. NWS says there are equal chances for normal, above-normal or below-normal precipitation during March for the Midwest and Plains, with the exception of eastern Texas where the odds favor a wet pattern. That wetter outlook encompasses other Gulf Coast states, as well, which could benefit the U.S. cotton crop.
Looking out over the March through May period, NWS offers few clues on what planting season may look like for the Midwest. It gives equal chances for normal, above-normal and below-normal temperatures and precipitation for much of the Corn Belt.
The “equal chances” outlook extends to the Plains when it comes to temperature. But NWS does give above-normal chances for wet weather for the southern half of the country, including western Nebraska and southern Missouri. So long as moisture is not excessive, this could be a positive for the winter wheat crop as it exits dormancy.
As a result, the seasonal drought outlook map is a bit of a “sleeper,” with the only forecast of note being for some patchy drought removal in the Texas Panhandle and southern areas of the state.