USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility says on the Plains, cold weather is returning. In addition, wind-driven snow is falling across portions of the central Plains in conjunction with a developing storm system. As the storm begins to move into the Midwest, windy conditions are also developing on the southern Plains.In Texas, where 44% of the winter wheat was rated very poor to poor on February 16, recent warmth was not favorable for the crop, USDA notes.
In the Corn Belt, showers and thunderstorms are spreading from the middle Mississippi Valley into the Great Lakes States, USDA says. At this time, most rivers and streams remain in their banks, but the potential exists for rain- and melt-induced flooding, as well as ice jams, in the central and eastern Corn Belt. Meanwhile, a developing, late-winter storm is resulting in a change to wind-driven snow in the westernmost Corn Belt, USDA concludes.
In the South, USDA says very warm, dry weather is helping to dry out soils in preparation for spring fieldwork. Some fieldwork is underway in the western Gulf Coast region, where drought remains a concern.
In the West, warmth lingers in California, USDA states, but near- to below-normal temperatures have returned to most other areas. Unfavorably dry weather in California, the Great Basin, and the Southwest contrasts with showery conditions from the Pacific Northwest to the northern Rockies, USDA says.
In its outlook, USDA says a developing storm currently centered over eastern Kansas will move northeastward, reaching the vicinity of Lake Superior on Friday. Blizzard conditions can be expected to develop today, spreading northward from Iowa. Meanwhile, showers and thunderstorms—accompanied by melting snow—could cause flooding from Illinois into the lower Great Lakes region. On February 20-21, storm-total rainfall may reach 1 to 2 inches from the central Gulf Coast northward through the Ohio Valley and into New England. In contrast, dry weather will persist into early next week from California to the southern Plains, USDA concludes.