In the West, chilly conditions linger across the interior Northwest, while showers are spreading inland across northern California and the Pacific Northwest. Elsewhere, mild, dry weather favors mid-winter fieldwork, including small grain planting in the Desert Southwest. Nearly three-fourths of Arizona’s durum wheat had been planted by January 20. However, drought remains a serious concern in the Southwest with respect to water supplies and rangeland conditions; 74% of Arizona’s rangeland and pastures are rated very poor to poor.

On the Plains, cold weather is generally confined to the Dakotas, eastern Montana, and northeastern Nebraska. Elsewhere, mild, dry conditions prevail. Much of the hard red winter wheat crop is poorly established and remains exposed to potential weather extremes.

In the Corn Belt, frigid conditions are maintaining stress on livestock, especially in the upper Midwest. This morning’s temperatures fell below 0°F in much of Minnesota and Wisconsin. Snow showers persist downwind of the Great Lakes, and a narrow band of light snow stretches from southern Minnesota into northern Illinois.

In the South, cool conditions in most areas contrast with a warming trend in the western Gulf Coast region. Freeze warnings were in effect early today in parts of northern Florida, but the state’s citrus and winter vegetable regions remained safely above 32°F.

Outlook: Cold weather will persist through week’s end in the Midwest and Northeast, followed by a warming trend. Meanwhile, mild weather will return to the Deep South late in the week, while generally above-normal temperatures will prevail from the Pacific Coast to the High Plains. However, cooler air will begin to overspread the West by early next week. During the next 5 days, precipitation will remain scarce across the nation’s mid-section. However, a late-week storm will produce light precipitation across the eastern one-third of the U.S., while widespread rain and snow showers will develop west of the Rockies. The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for January 28 – February 1 calls for near- to below-normal temperatures nationwide, except for warmer-than-normal weather in the Gulf and Atlantic Coast States. Meanwhile, near- to above-normal precipitation across the majority of the U.S. will contrast with drier-than-normal conditions in southern Texas, the Great Basin, and the Pacific Coast States.