USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility says on the Plains, bitterly cold conditions are confined to northeastern Montana and the Dakotas, where snow showers and windy conditions are increasing livestock stress. "This morning's temperatures fell below -20°F in northern North Dakota. Elsewhere, cool, dry weather prevails," USDA reports.
In the West, USDA says cold weather accompanies increasingly stormy conditions. "Currently, the most significant precipitation is falling across northern California and the northern Intermountain West," USDA adds.
In the Corn Belt, USDA says windy, bitterly cold weather is returning to the upper Midwest, increasing livestock stress. "This morning's temperatures fell to 0°F or below as far south as northern Iowa. As cold air arrives, widespread snow showers are affecting the Great Lakes region," USDA reports.
In the South, USDA says rain showers associated with a fast-moving cold front are sweeping into the southern Atlantic states. "Earlier, on Feb. 17-18, a cold outbreak resulted in hard freezes (temperatures of 28°F or below) across northern Florida," USDA explains. However, Florida's citrus belt was spared a significant freeze, with only scattered locations reporting temperatures below 32°F, according to USDA.
In its outlook, USDA says below-normal temperatures will dominate the nation during the remainder of the week. "The coldest conditions, relative to normal, will affect the Plains, Midwest, and Southwest," USDA elaborates. Mid-week temperatures below -20°F can be expected across portions of the northern Plains and upper Midwest, USDA continues. From the central Plains into parts of the Midwest, widespread snow will precede the arrival of the coldest air, helping to insulate winter wheat, according to USDA. "Meanwhile, another round of heavy rain will affect parts of the South, where mid- to late-week rainfall could reach 2 to 5 inches," USDA adds. Elsewhere, beneficial precipitation will fall across much of the West, starting early in the week across the southern half of the region and returning to the Northwest toward week’s end, USDA explains.