Weather report: Arctic air settles over the northern Plains

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In the West, locally heavy rain persists along the northern Pacific Coast, while snow continues to improve spring runoff prospects across the northern and central Rockies.

On the Plains, an arctic air mass is settling over northern portions of the region, where today’s highs will average up to 35°F below normal. Snow is falling over eastern portions of Kansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota, boosting moisture reserves for pastures and livestock.

In the Corn Belt, a strong cold front is bringing an end to the recent spell of record-setting warmth. Heavy rain and locally severe thunderstorms are pushing across eastern portions of the region, while snow is falling behind the front in the western Corn Belt.

In the South, severe weather is possible today in the Southeast ahead of an advancing cold front. Drier, albeit colder weather is settling over the western Gulf Coast.

Outlook: A strong cold front will bring an end to the recent spell of record-setting warmth across the eastern half of the nation. Unseasonably warm, humid conditions ahead of the front will fuel heavy showers and thunderstorms — some severe — as the front marches toward the East Coast. Meanwhile, an area of snow will fall in the colder air behind the front from the east-central Plains into the northern Great Lakes. Farther north, an arctic front will usher bitter cold air into the north-central U.S., with daytime highs expected to average 20 to 30°F below normal over the northern Plains and upper Midwest Thursday into Friday. This bitterly cold air mass will modify as it moves east, with a return of abnormal warmth expected over the Plains by week’s end. Out west, cold, snowy conditions in the Rockies and Cascades will gradually give way to drier, somewhat milder conditions. The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for February 4-8 calls for near- to above-normal temperatures across much of the nation, with the highest likelihood of unseasonable warmth centered over the Great Plains. Above-normal precipitation is expected in the Southwest and from the northern Plains into the Great Lakes and New England, while drier-than-normal weather is confined to the southern Atlantic and Gulf Coast Regions.

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