The National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center (CPC) has issued its extended weather forecasts. The outlook for February calls for above-normal temps across the bulk of the Corn Belt, Central and Southern Plains. Above-normal precip is expected to continue across the eastern Corn Belt, while below-normal precip is expected along the southern tier of states. Elsewhere, chances are equal for normal, below- or above-normal precip.
The CPC's outlook for February through March retracts the above-normal temps somewhat, excluding Iowa and the northern halves of Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. However, south of that line, above-normal temps are forecast. Above-normal precip across the eastern Corn Belt will raise concerns about flooding during planting season, while drier-than-normal conditions will maintain stress on winter wheat and pastures in western Kansas, most of Oklahoma and Texas. Chances are equal for normal, below- and above-normal precip across most of the western Corn BElt.
As a result of the forecast and the current soil moisture profile, CPC says in its Seasonal Drought Outlook that drought will persist across northwest Iowa, southern Minnesota and northeast Nebraska, as well as the southern half of Kansas, most of Oklahoma and Texas. Drought is also expected to develop in southern California and Florida.
"Frequent periods of precipitation somewhat improved drought conditions across the southern Plains and parts of the Southeast during the past two months. However, a return of dry weather and the ongoing La Niña favor persistence across most of eastern New Mexico, Texas, southern Kansas, western Oklahoma, and Texas.
Check the following links for maps of forecasts: