USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility says in the Corn Belt, extremely cold conditions are maintaining stress on livestock, especially across the winter-weary upper Midwest. "Wind chill warnings are in effect this morning across the upper Midwest due to the combination of extreme cold (locally below -20°F) and gusty winds," USDA reports. Dry weather prevails in the Corn Belt, except for snow showers downwind of the Great Lakes, according to USDA.
In the West, USDA reports unusual warmth persists in California, but modestly cooler air is overspreading other areas. "Snow showers are confined to the eastern slopes of the central and southern Rockies. The water content of the high- elevation Sierra Nevada snowpack still stands at 2 inches, about one-eighth of the late-January normal," USDA explains.
On the Plains, USDA says temperatures are plunging in the wake of an Arctic cold front’s passage. "This morning’s temperatures fell below 0°F as far south as Nebraska, raising concerns about the long-term health of exposed winter wheat," USDA details. Meanwhile, some beneficial light snow is falling on the central High Plains, USDA adds.
In the South, USDA says cold air already in place is being reinforced by a new surge of Arctic air. "This morning’s temperatures dipped below 10°F across portions of the Ozark Plateau," USDA reports. Meanwhile in Florida, sub-freezing temperatures were limited to scattered locations across the peninsula, USDA continues. "Nevertheless, some of Florida’s strawberry and winter vegetable producers employed protective measures to guard against freeze injury," USDA explains.
In its outlook, USDA says for today, a bitterly cold but short-lived Arctic outbreak will affect the Plains. "By Friday, however, above-normal temperatures will return to the northern and central Plains," USDA continues. The core of the late-week cold outbreak will settle across the South and East, with a reinforcing surge of Arctic air crossing the Midwest and Northeast during the weekend, USDA reports. Yet another strong blast of frigid air will invade areas east of the Rockies early next week, according to USDA. "Precipitation will be scarce during the next five days, except for showers across the Deep South and snow showers from the northern Plains into the Northeast," USDA explains.