USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility says on the Plains, cold weather has settled back into the eastern Dakotas, where this morning’s temperatures fell below 0°F. "In contrast, chinook winds are again howling across Montana, helping to hold morning temperatures above 40°F in some locations," USDA details. Little snow remains on the ground in the Plains’ winter wheat areas, according to USDA.
In the West, USDA says the water-supply situation is becoming increasingly bleak, especially in areas—such as California and the Great Basin —progressing through a third consecutive year of drought. "At the end of 2013, reservoir storage was below the historical average in every Western State except Montana, and less than three-quarters of average in California, Nevada, New Mexico, and Oregon," USDA details. Throughout the West, warm, dry conditions persist, USDA adds.
In the Corn Belt, USDA says colder weather accompanies snow showers, which are occurring mainly in the Great Lakes states. "This morning’s temperatures fell below 0°F in the far upper Midwest," USDA explains.
In the South, USDA reports dense fog is occurring early today in the southern Mid-Atlantic coastal plain. "Farther west, a weak cold front is generating a few rain showers from the southern Appalachians to the central Gulf Coast," USDA details.
In its outlook, USDA says a modest surge of cool air into the eastern one-third of the U.S. will be followed by another round of below-normal temperatures across the Midwest and East toward week’s end. "In contrast, unusually warm weather will persist in most areas from the Pacific Coast to the High Plains," USDA continues. Temperatures will regularly top the 60-degree mark as far north as the central High Plains, and will exceed 80°F in the Desert Southwest, USDA details. "On Wednesday night and Thursday, a high-wind event can be expected across the northern and central Plains and the western Corn Belt, while blizzard conditions will affect the Red River Valley," USDA explains. Elsewhere during the next five days, significant precipitation will be scarce, USDA continues. Isolated spots from the Great Lakes region into the Northeast will receive precipitation totaling one-half inch or more, but dry weather can be expected across the majority of the Plains, West, and South, according to USDA.