In the West, drought-easing precipitation continues across northern and central California and the interior Northwest. Meanwhile, mild, dry weather covers the Southwest. In Arizona, more than half (52%) of the rangeland and pastures were rated in very poor to poor condition on March 11.

On the Plains, record-setting warmth continues, especially across central portions of the region. Today’s high temperatures will exceed 80°F as far north as southern Nebraska. Winter wheat continues to develop rapidly in areas with adequate soil moisture, but serious drought concerns persist on the southern High Plains. In Texas, 43% of the wheat crop was rated in very poor to poor condition on March 11, according to USDA.

In the Corn Belt, record-setting warmth prevails. Today’s high temperatures will approach 80°F as far north as the middle Mississippi Valley. Throughout the southern and eastern Corn Belt, the soft red winter wheat crop is exhibiting rapid and unusually early development.

In the South, spring fieldwork is proceeding under warm, dry conditions. By March 11, one-fifth (20%) of the acreage intended for corn had been planted in Texas, along with 8% in Georgia and 4% in South Carolina. In addition, crops such as winter wheat and fruits are developing at a faster-than-normal pace.

Outlook: Record-setting warmth will continue for the foreseeable future in many areas from the Plains to the Atlantic Seaboard. The most anomalous warmth will prevail across the northern Plains, Midwest, and Northeast, where temperatures will continue to average at least 20 to 30°F above average. During the second half of the week, scattered, generally light showers will develop across parts of the South, East, and lower Midwest. Meanwhile, much more impressive precipitation totals will be observed in the West, with additional amounts of 4 to 8 inches possible in northern California and the Pacific Northwest. Toward week’s end, showers will spread as far south as Arizona and southern California. The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for March 19-23 calls for above-normal temperatures from the Plains to the East Coast, while cooler-than-normal weather will be confined to areas west of the Rockies. Meanwhile, near- to above-normal precipitation across the majority of the nation will contrast with drier-than-normal conditions in southern California and the East.