Weather report: Cold air covers most of the Midwest

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In the West, widespread precipitation is developing across northern California and the Northwest. Snow is confined to high-elevation locations and the northern tier of the West. Windy conditions accompany the increase in storminess, although fieldwork continues in southern California and the Southwest.

On the Plains, frigid conditions persist across the Dakotas, where this morning’s low temperatures fell below 0°F in many locations. Cold weather also covers most of the remainder of the nation’s mid-section, although mild air is just starting to overspread the High Plains.

In the Corn Belt, cold, breezy weather prevails. Snow showers linger downwind of the Great Lakes. In the upper Midwest, an extensive snow cover and frigid conditions are maintaining stress on livestock.

In the South, scattered rain showers are affecting portions of the western and central Gulf Coast States, as well as Florida’s peninsula. Elsewhere, dry but cool weather favors spring fieldwork.

Outlook: Cold weather will continue to dominate most of the nation into next week. A brief, mid-week surge of warmth across the West will be largely suppressed into Texas by week’s end and the Southeast early next week. The coldest weather, relative to normal, will affect the Midwest during the next few days and the Plains during the weekend. Despite the cold weather, temperatures are not expected to be low enough to pose a significant threat to winter grains. In addition, the Deep South —where some planting is underway—is expected to be spared from the most significant cold. Meanwhile, a series of disturbances will traverse the nation from the Northwest into the Southeast. Five-day precipitation totals could reach 1 to 3 inches in the Northwest and from the Mid-South into the lower Southeast. Beneficial precipitation can be expected across central portions of the Rockies and Plains, but mostly dry weather will prevail from southern California to Texas. The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for March 25-29 calls for colder-than-normal conditions east of the Rockies and along the Pacific Coast, while near-normal temperatures will prevail in the West. Meanwhile, near- to below-normal precipitation across the majority of the U.S. will contrast with wetter-than-normal weather in the Southeast.

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