Weather report: Mild and dry on the central, southern Plains

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In the West, showery weather prevails from the Pacific Northwest to the northern Rockies. Meanwhile, mild, dry conditions in California and the Southwest favor fieldwork. In Arizona, recent precipitation has left rangeland and pastures rated 41% very poor to poor, an improvement from 74% just two weeks ago.

On the Plains, cold weather is limited to northern and eastern North Dakota. Elsewhere, mild, dry weather continues to leave most of the hard red winter wheat crop exposed to potential weather extremes. In addition, rangeland and pastures are suffering from the effects of drought. By the end of January, for example, more than four-fifths of the rangeland and pastures were rated very poor to poor in Kansas (85%) and Oklahoma (82%).

In the Corn Belt, cold weather in the Great Lakes States contrasts with mild conditions south and west of the Missouri River. During the last two weeks, livestock stress has increased across the upper Midwest due to persistently cold conditions and occasional wintry precipitation.

In the South, developing rain across southern Texas is providing some relief from recent warm, dry conditions. Warm, mostly dry weather covers the remainder of the region. Citrus irrigation demands remain heavy in Florida, where topsoil moisture was rated 62% very short to short on February 3.

Outlook: For today, rain will continue across southern Texas and spread eastward. During the next 3 days, storm-total rainfall could reach 2 to 4 inches across the South, with some of the heaviest amounts expected in the central Gulf Coast States. However, only light showers will dampen Florida’s peninsula. Farther north, some late-week snow, sleet, and freezing rain will affect the Midwest and Northeast. Meanwhile, precipitation in the Northwest will spread southward and farther inland, reaching California and the Intermountain West by week’s end. During the weekend, precipitation associated with a developing storm will affect the nation’s mid-section, trailed by colder weather across the western and central U.S. The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for February 11-15 calls for above-normal temperatures in the East and across Montana’s High Plains, while colder-than-normal conditions will prevail from California to the central and southern High Plains. Meanwhile, below-normal precipitation in northern California and neighboring areas will contrast with wetter-than-normal weather from the Plains to the East Coast.

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