In the West, precipitation is confined to western Washington. Elsewhere, warm, dry weather is promoting spring fieldwork but causing some premature melting of mid- and high-elevation snow packs.

On the Plains
, dry, unusually warm weather prevails, except for some lingering cold conditions across the eastern Dakotas. Today’s high temperatures could approach 80°F as far north as the central High Plains, helping to coax winter wheat out of dormancy.

In the Corn Belt, cold weather is maintaining a substantial snow cover across the northern tier of the Midwest. In addition, some light snow is falling in the upper Mississippi Valley. Current snow depths include 6 inches at Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, and Madison, Wisconsin.

In the South, a freeze warning is in effect this morning across northern and central Georgia. Throughout the region, cool, dry weather favors fieldwork. Spring planting activities are well underway across the Deep South. For example, the Texas corn crop was 29% planted by March 10, compared to 18% last year at this time and the 5-year average of 22%.

Outlook: During the next few days, a series of fast-moving disturbances will produce generally light rain and snow showers from the northern Plains to the Mid-Atlantic States. Meanwhile, some precipitation will also fall in the Northwest , but mostly dry weather will prevail from California to Texas. During the weekend, a more significant storm system will cross the northern Plains and the Great Lakes region, generating widespread snow. At the same time, rain showers will develop in the East. Elsewhere, warmth currently affecting the western and central U.S. will gradually be pushed toward the nation’s southern tier. As a result, chilly conditions will persist into early next week from the Great Lakes region into the Northeast, while markedly colder air will overspread the northern Plains. Cooler air will also eventually overspread the Northwest. The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for March 19-23 calls for near- to below-normal temperatures nationwide, except for warmer-than-normal weather in the Southeast . Meanwhile, above-normal precipitation north and east of a line from Montana to Louisiana —excluding Florida’s peninsula —will contrast with drier-than-normal conditions from California to Texas.