In the West, much-needed precipitation is spreading across California, although amounts are generally light. Elsewhere, cool, dry weather prevails, except for a few showers in the Pacific Northwest.

On the Plains, mild weather prevails across Montana and the Dakotas, where winter wheat remains exposed to potential weather extremes. Farther south, widespread mostly snow and sleet on the central and southern Plains are causing travel disruptions but benefiting pastures and winter grains.

In the Corn Belt, cold, breezy conditions are easing, following some of the most frigid weather of the season. However, precipitation is returning to the southwestern Corn Belt in the form of light snow.

In the South, readings below 32°F were noted this morning as far south as the northwestern citrus areas of Florida’s peninsula, requiring some producers to take protective measures to guard against freeze injury to temperature-sensitive crops. Hard freeze warnings (28°F or below) are in effect for much of northern Florida, southern Georgia, and southeastern Alabama. Elsewhere, snow is spreading across the Mid- South, while rain is arriving in the lower Mississippi Valley.

Outlook: For the remainder of the week, colder air will settle across the West, while milder conditions return to the eastern half of the U.S. Meanwhile, a pair of storm systems will traverse the nation. The first system, currently over the nation’s mid-section, will weaken before reaching the East Coast around mid-week. The second storm, currently affecting the Pacific Coast States, will produce up to an inch of precipitation in California and the Southwest and as much as 1 to 3 inches across the South. Both storms will produce some snow in the Midwest. The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for February 18-22 calls for colder-than-normal weather from the Pacific Coast to the High Plains, while near- to above-normal temperatures prevail across the eastern half of the U.S. Meanwhile, near- to above-normal precipitation across the majority of the nation will contrast with drier-than-normal conditions in the north-central U.S. and from California to the southern Plains.