USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility says on the Plains, a developing storm system is producing widespread cloudiness but little precipitation. "Warmth dominates the region, causing wheat to begin losing winter hardiness," USDA reports. In fact, high temperatures are stressing wheat on the Southern Plains, where today’s readings will again approach 90°F in parts of West Texas, USDA detials.
In the West, USDA reports unfavorably warm, dry conditions—accompanied by locally high winds—persist from California to the southern Rockies. Farther north, generally light but beneficial rain and snow showers stretch from the Pacific Northwest to the northern Rockies.
In the Corn Belt, USDA says mostly dry, mild weather is initiating the snow-melt process. "In fact, snow has been eroded or eliminated in the southwestern Corn Belt, but extensive coverage remains in the Great Lakes region," USDA elaborates.
In the South, USDA says showers and thunderstorms are crossing the southern Appalachians and southern Mid-Atlantic coastal plain. "Elsewhere, warm, dry weather is helping to dry out soils in preparation for spring fieldwork," USDA explains.
In its outlook, USDA says a generally mild weather regime will be replaced by a late-week return of cold conditions across much of the northern U.S. "During the weekend, cold weather will expand to encompass the Plains and Midwest," USDA details. A storm currently developing across the nation’s mid-section will provide most of the precipitation highlights, starting later today in the middle Mississippi Valley, USDA reports. "By Feb. 20-21, a significant, wind-driven snowfall event will unfold from Iowa into the upper Great Lakes region, while high winds will rake portions of the Plains," according to USDA. By Friday, when the storm’s trailing cold front reaches the Atlantic Seaboard, event-total precipitation should have reached 1 to 2 inches in many areas from the Mississippi Valley to the East Coast, USDA continues. "Rain could be heavy enough to trigger some flooding from Illinois to Ohio, especially when combined with melting snow," USDA elaborates. Elsewhere, dry weather will prevail through week’s end from California to the southern Plains, while light to moderately heavy precipitation will occur from the Pacific Northwest to the northern Plains, USDA reports.