In the West, widespread precipitation continues to ease drought and improve water-supply prospects across northern California and the interior Northwest. Meanwhile, mild, dry weather covers the Southwest.

On the Plains, dry weather accompanies record-setting warmth. Today’s high temperatures will range from near 70°F on the northern High Plains to at least 85°F on the southern High Plains. In the latter region, winter wheat and rangelands are being stressed by warm, dry conditions. Moisture will soon be need on the northern High Plains, where winter wheat is breaking dormancy.

In the Corn Belt, very warm weather prevails. Isolated thunderstorms are confined to the eastern Corn Belt. Today’s high temperatures will exceed 80°F in parts of the southern Corn Belt.

In the South, warm, mostly dry weather is promoting a rapid pace of fieldwork and crop development. Today’s temperatures will top 80°F in most areas, and will approach 90°F in parts of the Southeast.

Outlook: Record-setting warmth will continue into next week in many areas from the Plains to the Atlantic Seaboard. Temperatures will average at least 20 to 30°F above normal from the northern and central Plains into the Northeast. Meanwhile, a series of Pacific storms will maintain unsettled conditions in northern and central California and the Northwest. Additional precipitation could reach 2 to 5 inches in the Sierra Nevada, California’s key watershed region. During the weekend, rain and snow showers will spread into southern California and parts of the Southwest. By early next week, heavy showers and locally severe thunderstorms will erupt across the south-central U.S. The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for March 20-24 calls for abovenormal temperatures from the Plains to the East Coast, while colder-than-normal weather will be confined to areas west of the Rockies. Meanwhile, near- to above-normal temperatures across the majority of the U.S. will contrast with drier-than-normal conditions in southern California and the East.