In the West, cool weather prevails. Frost and freeze advisories are in effect this morning in a few areas, including southwestern Oregon and some of southern California’s interior valleys. Snow showers linger across the Intermountain West and the Southwest, while precipitation is returning to the Pacific Northwest.
On the Plains, wind-driven snow on Montana’s High Plains is causing travel disruptions but providing highly beneficial moisture for winter wheat. Meanwhile, showers and thunderstorms are sweeping across the central and southern Plains. However, significant rainfall has bypassed the driest areas of the southern High Plains.
In the Corn Belt, historic, early-season warmth continues. In some Midwestern locations, today will mark the fifth consecutive day with highs of 80°F or greater. Isolated showers and thunderstorms are mainly confined to the western half of the Corn Belt.
In the South, warm, mostly dry weather is promoting a rapid pace of fieldwork and crop development. However, drought remains a significant concern in some areas, especially across the lower Southeast.
Outlook: A slow-moving storm covering the nation’s mid-section will continue to produce a variety of extreme weather conditions. Later today, for example, an outbreak of severe thunderstorms will affect areas from the eastern Plains into the Mississippi Valley. Meanwhile, early- to mid-week downpours (locally 5 to 10 inches) will cause flooding from the southeastern Plains into the lower Mississippi Valley. Farther north, heavy, wind-driven snow will subside later today across the northern High Plains. Historic and phenomenal early-season warmth will continue for the remainder of the week across the Midwest, with some westward expansion of the warmth after midweek across the northern Plains and Intermountain West. Elsewhere, an early-week chill across the West will shift into the south-central U.S. By mid-week, Western temperatures will quickly rebound, except along the Pacific Coast. The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for March 24-28 calls for above-normal temperatures nationwide, except for cooler-than-normal conditions in the Pacific Coast States. Meanwhile, below-normal precipitation across the majority of the U.S. will contrast with wetter-than-normal conditions across the nation’s northern tier from the Pacific Northwest to the Great Lakes region.