Weather report: Bitterly cold across the upper Midwest

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In the West, cold weather accompanies increasingly stormy conditions. Currently, the most significant precipitation is falling across northern California and the northern Intermountain West. 

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.

In the Corn Belt, 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.

In the South, rain showers associated with a fast-moving cold front are sweeping into the southern Atlantic States. Earlier, on February 17-18, a cold outbreak resulted in hard freezes (temperatures of 28°F or below) across northern Florida. However, Florida’s citrus belt was spared a significant freeze, with only scattered locations reporting temperatures below 32°F.

Outlook: 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. Mid-week temperatures below -20°F can be expected across portions of the northern Plains and upper Midwest. From the central Plains into parts of the Midwest, widespread snow will precede the arrival of the coldest air, helping to insulate winter wheat. Meanwhile, another round of heavy rain will affect parts of the South, where mid- to late-week rainfall could reach 2 to 5 inches. 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. The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for February 24-28 calls for below-normal temperatures from the Pacific Coast to the Mississippi River, while warmer-than-normal weather will prevail in the East. Meanwhile, above-normal precipitation across the eastern half of the U.S. will contrast with drier-than-normal conditions from California to the central and southern Rockies.

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