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USDA: Arctic Temps for Upper Midwest, Mild Weather for Central & Southern Plains

09:07AM Feb 21, 2014

USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility says on the Plains, very cold conditions persist in the Dakotas. Farther south, however, mild weather is returning to the central and southern Plains. Precipitation is needed on the southern Plains to prevent further declines in rangeland, pasture, and winter wheat condition.

In the South, USDA reports a band of showers and thunderstorms is sweeping across the Appalachians into the Atlantic Coast States. Strong winds accompany the thunderstorms. Mild, dry weather trails the line of storms, USDA notes.

In the Corn Belt, snowy, windy conditions linger across the upper Midwest in the wake of a departing storm, USDA says. More than 7 inches of snow fell on Thursday in Mason City, Iowa. Meanwhile, recovery efforts are underway in areas of the lower Midwest hit by yesterday's severe weather outbreak. Tornadoes struck several communities in central and southern Illinois, where current temperatures have fallen below 40 degrees amid windy conditions, USDA observes..

In the West, USDA says cold weather is limited to the northern tier of the region, where a few rain and snow showers are occurring. Elsewhere, warm, dry weather is maintaining dismal prospects for spring and summer runoff, particularly in California, the Great Basin, and parts of the Southwest.

In its outlook, USDA says for the remainder of today, a cold front sweeping across the East will produce showers and locally severe thunderstorms. In the front’s wake, a period of relatively tranquil weather will prevail. Excluding the Atlantic Coast States, 5-day precipitation totals in excess of an inch will be limited to the central Gulf Coast region and areas from the Pacific Northwest to the northern Rockies. Dry conditions will persist in the nation’s southwestern quadrant. Meanwhile, a late-season cold outbreak will affect much of the nation, excluding California, the Great Basin, and the Southwest. Sub-zero temperatures can be expected during the next several days across the northern Plains and upper Midwest, USDA notes.