Weather report: Rain returns to the Plains

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In the West, showers continue to spread inland along the Pacific Coast as far south as northwestern California. In addition, cooler air is arriving in the Pacific Coast States.

On the Plains, much-needed rain is falling across central portions of the region, including central and eastern Kansas. Mild, dry, breezy weather covers the remainder of the Plains, except for lingering cold conditions in parts of North Dakota.

In the Corn Belt, lingering cold weather across the northern tier of the region contrasts with unusually warm conditions in the Ohio and middle Mississippi Valleys. As a result, rain is falling in parts of the southern Corn Belt, while snow, sleet or freezing rain is occurring farther north. Despite recent warming, the northern and eastern Corn Belt retains some snow cover. Current depths include 2 inches in Chicago, Illinois, and Fort Wayne, Indiana.

In the South, warm weather prevails, except for a lingering chill east of the Appalachians. Although widespread rain is falling in the Southeast, Florida’s peninsula remains unfavorably dry.

Outlook: Separate disturbances over the central Plains and the Southeast, respectively, will merge on Friday near the Mid-Atlantic Coast, generating a winter storm in the Northeast. Blizzard conditions may affect eastern New England on February 8-9. Farther south, some snow, sleet, and freezing rain may occur early Friday as far south as the northern Mid-Atlantic States. Meanwhile, cold weather will return to the West, reaching the High Plains during the weekend. In contrast, temperatures will gradually rebound to above-normal levels in the East. Elsewhere, muchneeded precipitation will develop across the nation’s mid-section during the weekend, while showers and thunderstorms will sweep across the South. Five-day rainfall totals could reach 2 to 4 inches from eastern Texas to the Carolinas, as well as coastal New England. The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for February 12-16 calls for near- to below-normal temperatures nationwide, except for warmer-than-normal weather in the Northeast. Meanwhile, nearto above-normal precipitation from the Plains to the East Coast will contrast with drier-than-normal conditions in much of the West. Contact: Brad Rippey,

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